|By Ryan Wolfington|
© Getty ImagesKim Clijsters celebrates her second Sony Ericsson Open title.
When you go to Miami you get the best tennis players in the world, the best weather in the United States this time of year and a large dose of celebrity, crossing the lines between Hollywood and sport.
This stage could not have been more dramatic with Belgium's former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters needing just 58 minutes to dismiss an error-prone Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 to win her second Sony Ericsson Open title in Miami Saturday.
Backing up from her third-set tie-break win over countrywoman Justine Henin on Thursday night, Clijsters was in sparkling form, dictating play with her crisp ground strokes. Williams, saying that she was "my own worst enemy today," sprayed 30 unforced errors and threw in double faults at crucial stages to drop serve.
Today's win is projected to lift Clijsters back into the Top 10 for the first time since she returned to the Sony Ericsson Open WTA Tour last year.
"It took a lot of hard work to get back into shape and I have a few people to thank, including my fitness coach and husband," Clijsters said during the on-court ceremony. "It feels really good to be back here, having won the title in 2005. It's always nice to come back to a place you have done well before, and to such a beautiful stadium."
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Williams, who won the Sony Ericsson Open title in 1998, '99 and 2001, said: "Sometimes when you hit a few bad shots it's not as easy to reel it in, and things start to go a little bit quicker. Every now and then it happens to the best of us. I think this happened to Kim in Australia, so I think she knows what it's like. Wasn't the best day, but that's, I guess, sport sometimes.
"Obviously against a player like Kim, if you make too many errors, the match can go quickly. I mean, I think she hit eight winners, so it wasn't she played extremely solid; it's not like I was blown off the court. Unfortunately I was my own worst enemy today."
Williams, who was riding a 15-match winning streak, was seeking her third consecutive title following her triumphs in Dubai and Acapulco.
Clijsters claimed her 37th career title to move ahead of Serena Williams into outright 13th position on the list of all-time singles titles leaders. (Venus Williams has 43 career titles.) Clijsters is also the leading active player for hard court titles won, with 28. She is now tied with Monica Seles in fourth place on the list of all-time hard court titles leaders and nine titles shy of all-time leader Steffi Graf (37).
In claiming her fourth consecutive victory over Williams, whom she beat en route to the US Open title last year, Clijsters leveled her head-to-head series with the 29 year old to 6-6.
Clijsters claimed her second title of the year, adding to her success in Brisbane in the first week of the season. She improved to a 14-2 match record on the year, with Williams slipping to 20-2. Williams is projected to rise to No. 4 in Monday's new rankings.
After returning to No. 10 in the rankings just eight tournaments after stepping out of retirement, can Clijsters return to No. 1? She's made it clear that she won't play a full schedule as she balances motherhood and her desire to stay injury-free against playing the number of tournaments that may allow her to return to the pinnacle of the sport.
"I think if I do well at the tournaments that I play, I think the No. 1 is maybe possible. It's not that it's my main goal. Obviously with my situation, I'm not in a situation where I feel that I just want to go to this tournament and that tournament to get more points. [But] if it would happen, that would be great."
On how she balances her life as a mother and player, Clijsters said: "Now I just to have make sure that I still get enough time to focus on what I want to do when I'm playing my matches and to work on weaknesses and everything, but I also need my time at home or in the hotel or whatever we are to be with Jada. I feel that the balance is good. Obviously there's days where if Jada is a little bit sick or something I want to stay with her.