SYDNEY: Kim Clijsters carries a hot form streak into the Australian Open after breezing past Lindsay Davenport in the women’s final of the Sydney International yesterday.
The 19-year-old Belgian world No.4 mastered the pressure points as she powered to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over the former world No. 1 to cap an impressive week leading into tomorrow’s first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
“I think she’s definitely going to win a Slam,” declared the experienced Davenport. “I can’t tell you if it’s going to be in the next two weeks, but she has a big advantage over the other players from being down here so long and playing on Rebound Ace (hardcourt).”
It was Clijsters’ 11th WTA title and 19th win in her last 20 matches, which includes victory over ramapaging No.1 Serena Williams at the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles last November. It was her first career victory over Williams.
“I’m a lot more consistent than what I was about six months ago and you learn by playing matches and being in tough situations and keeping your cool and everything under control,” said Clijsters, whose boyfriend is world No.1 Australian Lleyton Hewitt.
But Clijsters was not letting the tournament victory take her focus off the Australian Open, saying it was like starting all over again next week.
“It’s always a bit harder when you have a win to refocus again. You don’t get a lot of time to enjoy it, especially before such a big tournament.”
It was Clijsters’ third win over Davenport in their last four meetings, but the American world No.12 leads 6-4 overall.
Looking ahead to the Australian Open and the battle to topple top seeds Serena and Venus Williams, Clijsters said: “In a Grand Slam you have to do everything right for two weeks. Maybe I have to get a little more experience into the Grand Slams.”
But Davenport, six months back from a knee surgery, likes what she sees in Clijsters. “She’s so fast and her game’s coming together where she’s cutting down on her errors,” said Davenport.