Tennis: No escaping Clijsters' class
STRANGE to think that when Kim Clijsters last played Vera Zvonareva at a Grand Slam, in the quarter-finals of this summer's Wimbledon, it caused a prison riot, WRITES Mark Hodgkinson.
The inmates at a Young Offenders Institution in Rochester in Kent threw rocks and took a hostage after guards refused to allow them to watch the match on television.
If the warden is considering how to punish the prisoners, he could do worse than to chain them to their chairs and force them to sit through a tape of Clijsters beating Zvonareva in the final of the US Open on Saturday night.
It only goes on for 59 minutes, but it will not be enjoyable viewing, as this was the evening at Flushing Meadows when Zvonareva stank the place out, playing such a God-awful match that before they had reached the hour-mark, Clijsters had won 6-2, 6-1 to retain her trophy.
It was the third time on her last three visits to New York that she had won the title: the Belgian was also the champion in 2005, then missed three tournaments because of injury and motherhood, and returned from maternity leave to win last season's event.
But, as well as Clijsters played, this final will be remembered for Zvonareva's poor tennis, as the occasion got to her, turning her into a rabbit under the floodlights.
While Zvonareva was outplayed in the final of this summer's Wimbledon, when she was the runner-up to Serena Williams, at least she was able to play a few shots. It was difficult to know who to feel most sorry for.
Was it Zvonareva, as, with this broadcast live across America, this was a primetime embarrassment?
Or perhaps it was Clijsters, as the terrible final obscured her terrific achievement of extending her unbeaten run here to 21 matches? (© Daily Telegraph, London)