Monday, November 1, 2010

Clijsters Wins Doha, Player of the Year?

Kim Clijsters continued reshaping her legacy during her second tennis career after her comeback to the game last year as she defeated world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Championships in Doha. She becomes only the fifth player in WTA history to win the year-end event three or more times tying Monica Seles with three wins. Only Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Chris Evert have won more. With her win in Doha, Clijsters has compiled an amazing 6-0 record in finals since her comeback. Her other five titles include two Grand Slam wins at the US Open as well as titles from Brisbane, Miami, and Cincinnati.

Wozniacki ended her year bitter-sweetly, clearly happy for clinching that year-end #1 ranking and winning the most titles on the tour and yet obviously disappointed for not winning any of the major titles, hearkening back to the slam-less #1 reigns of Dinara Safina and Jelena Jankovic.

The match itself was worthy of a final between two top-tier players. Clijsters cruised to a 6-3 4-1 lead with Wozniacki digging deep to even the second set at 5-5. Clijsters' concentration and level of play dipped and suddenly it was the third set with Wozniacki up an early break. Clijsters finally came alive again, breaking the Dane right back and rushing to a 5-2 lead. Two games later, Clijsters was able to serve it out winning 6-3 5-7 6-3.

The question to ask now is who is the Player of the Year?

As I wrote above, Wozniacki ends the year as the top ranked player in the world amassing more titles than anyone, but her lack of success in majors is suspect. Serena Williams won the most majors out of anyone, 2, one at the Australian Open and another in Wimbledon. Those would be her only titles of the year, however, and she was largely absent during the second half of the year. Francesca Schiavone and Clijsters grabbed the other two majors with Clijsters also winning Doha and three other titles. Plus there are those who have made career breakthroughs this year such as Samantha Stosur and Vera Zvonareva who both reached their first Grand Slam finals as well as their highest rankings. If I had to pick someone, it would be Clijsters. She won a Grand Slam as well as multiple titles both in the first and second halves of the year. Coincidentally, she does top the tour on one thing, prize money won.

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