Kim Clijsters upsets Venus Williams at US Open 2009
Kim Clijsters upset Venus Williams, 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals of the US Open.
Moving well, stinging shots with both forehand and backhand and matching every bit of Williams’ power, the Belgian star offered a startling referendum on the state of her game.
It may have also said something about the true state of Williams’ left knee, which she hurt in the opening round, but had refused throughout the tournament to use as an excuse.
It was unbelievable. I don’t know what to say,” Clijsters said. “It was such a weird match, especially those first two sets. But after I lost the second at 6-0, I said, let’s start over and start a new match.”
Indeed, the match began the way many Sundays do in Queens-with a couple of bagels. It took a grand total of 50 minutes to complete those first two sets, but both players regrouped from that bit of awkwardness and played some of the most compelling, solid tennis of the tournament so far.
Clijsters grabbed an early break for a 3-1 lead, helped by one of Williams’ five double-faults to close it out, then served out the match, though it was anything but routine.
She fell behind 0-30 on her serve at 5-4, but just kept banging away. She got it to 30-40, then hit a shot deep into the corner that Williams couldn’t handle. She forced an error at deuce with another deep groundstroke, then skidded a service winner off the line on the backhand side for the win.
Her reaction was one not so much of surprise, as a smile that seemed to say “I told you so.” She became the first female wild-card entrant to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
“I’ve been working really hard the last seven, eight months and I’m enjoying it,” Clijsters said. “It’s something that’s really important for myself, as long as I can focus on tennis and have fun on the outside as well.”
Clijsters retired in 2007 but is quickly re-establishing herself as one of the few who can move well enough and hit hard enough to hang with the Williams sisters.
“I was really glad coming back that a few of the girls who were there when I was playing well are still on top right now,” Clijsters said. “And it’s great to see some of the newcomers doing well, too. It’s fun for me to be part of the change the sport is going through.”