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September 15, 2009

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Clijsters rewrites script with US win

IT was not part of Kim Clijsters' grand plan, and that made her US Open victory feel surreal to the Belgian.

"I can't believe this happened," the 26-year-old Clijsters said following her grand slam triumph on Sunday after taking more than two years off to start a family.

"It still seems so surreal that in my third tournament back I won my second grand slam. Because it wasn't in the plan.

"I just wanted to come here and get a feel for it all over again, play a grand slam so starting the next year I didn't have to go through all the new experiences over again."

Instead, she experienced winning the Open all over again with her 7-5, 6-3 triumph over 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

This time, her husband Brian and 18-month-old daughter Jada were by her side to frolic on Arthur Ashe Stadium court and play with the silver winner's trophy.

Clijsters had not competed at Flushing Meadows since claiming her first grand slam here in 2005.

"The motivation was missing then," she said about stepping away from the sport. "I came to an age where I really felt like, combined with the injuries, I wasn't really 100 percent focused on my tennis anymore.

"As a woman, I came to a stage in my life, too, where I wanted to get married. We wanted to start a family, and I was glad. I feel very lucky that I got this chance to be back here now and that I made that decision, because it's obviously been a good choice.

"Being a mother is obviously my first priority and being a wife ... I'm just very lucky that I'm able to combine both and that my family supports me in doing this."

Clijsters said lessons learned about herself during her time away from tennis might have made her a better player.

"Amazing. For her to have this incredible run is fantastic. This is a great story for women's tennis, that's for sure," said Roger Federer, who, as the new father of twins, will try to prove that dads too can rule the world when he takes on Juan Martin del Potro in the men's final.

Federer conjured an eye-catching crosscourt winner from between his legs to bring up match point as he beat Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 7-5. Del Potro pulled off the greatest win of his life when he crushed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 to reach his first major final.

Also, Indo-Czech pair Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy won their second grand slam title of the year after lifting the men's doubles crown.

Paes and Dlouhy were trailing by a set and break before they launched their fightback to beat third seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.


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