Kim Clijsters beat Italian veteran Silvia Farina Elia 6-3, 6-0 Sunday to win the Diamond Games tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.
The straight-set win clinched Clijsters’ first tournament victory in her native Belgium and her 21st overall. She won the Gaz de France tournament in Paris last week.
Throughout the match, the 14,000 home fans at the Sports Palace cheered loudly.
“It even gave me goosebumps in my face,” Clijsters said. “This is why I want to return here.”
Clijsters was the only top-player to last in the tournament, after world No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo, No. 5 Jennifer Capriati and two-time defending champion Venus Williams withdrew with injuries or illness.
Farina Elia challenged the home favorite during the first set, when her patient play and mix of slices and top-spins unsettled Clijsters. But once Clijsters had her serve and drives under full control, she could not be stopped.
“She was too strong,” Farina Elia said. “I was fighting hard in the first set.”
Hewitt beats Ferrero to win ABN Amro
Sixth-seeded Lleyton Hewitt beat second-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-7 (1), 7-5, 6-4 in the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to win his 21st career title.
Hewitt overcame early problems with his serve to improve his record against the French Open champion to 5-3. The Australian dropped his first set of the tournament but rallied to win his second title this year.
Ferrero, the world No. 2 from Spain, might have been strained from his long route to the final, which included three-set matches Friday and Saturday.
Hewitt made just 50 percent of his first serves in the first set to Ferrero’s 82 percent.
In the second set, Hewitt survived two break points in a seventh game that went to deuce seven times. At one point, Ferrero folded his arms and told the chair umpire, “I don’t want to play like this,” after one of his serves was called out.
He began losing more rallies in the third set before Hewitt finally broke him for the win.
Johansson wins first ATP tourney
Joachim Johansson held off his nerves until the very end — when he was leading 40-15, trying to serve out the last point for his first ATP title.
The 21-year-old Swede, playing his first final, read Saturday night on the Internet that Jonas Bjorkman won Sweden’s last title in June 2002 at Nottingham. Johansson knew the excitement was rising back home well before he took the court Sunday at The Racquet Club.
He harnessed his powerful serve and was not broken in beating Nicolas Kiefer in the final of the Kroger St. Jude tournament.
“Everybody’s happy back home, especially my friends and family,” he said.
Johansson faced just one break point and beat Kiefer 7-6 (5), 6-3 in just 94 minutes. Johansson routinely hit 137 mph on his serves, and even 130 on some second serves, as he avoided being broken in 55 games in the tournament.
“I’ve done it in Futures and Challengers, but nothing at this kind of level, and I’m very pleased with the way I’ve been serving especially this week. I’ve been playing pretty well from the baseline,” he said.
The 26-year-old Kiefer had experience on his side, trying to win his seventh title and first since Hong Kong in 2000. But he struggled with his serve and had six double faults.
Johansson had played just 25 ATP matches in his young career, including his previous four matches this week, in reaching the final. His previous best performance had been reaching the quarterfinals at Stockholm last year, where he lost to Davide Sanguinetti.
But Johansson, who beat Kiefer in three sets in the first round at the Siebel Open last week in San Jose, won 89 percent of his first serves. He faced five break points in the tournament, and has not been broken in 63 straight games, dating to his fourth-round loss to Andy Roddick in San Jose.
Kiefer said Johansson played with much more confidence than in San Jose. So did Kiefer, who had lost six straight matches before coming to Memphis but found himself playing his 13th final and first in the United States. He just didn’t get many chances on Johansson’s serve.
“Every time, he came out with those big shots. ... Unfortunately, it didn’t go this way today, and he deserved to win,” Kiefer said.
The first set lasted 53 minutes as Kiefer fought off two break points and served almost as well as Johansson.
The Swede faced his only break point on Sunday in the 10th game. He trailed 30-40 when he served up a 126 mph ace, one of 79 in the tournament, to pull back to deuce. Kiefer then hit a backhand wide before Johansson tied the set at 5-all with a forehand winner.
In the tiebreaker, Kiefer won four of five points to tie at 4.
Johansson then put a forehand down the line past Kiefer to go up 5-4 and watched Kiefer put a forehand return into the net. Johansson double faulted and won the set as Kiefer hit a forehand wide.
In the second set, Kiefer held serve in the second game only after holding off three break points. Johansson broke him in the eighth to go up 5-3.
Johansson served out for the title with a final bit of drama.
Kiefer was given a verbal abuse warning for complaining both to the umpire and a line official for a serve he thought was out at 40-15. There was no ruling, Johansson served again, and he won with a drop shot.
“I started to think it probably would’ve been better if they would’ve called that serve out,” Johansson said. “It looked close. If they’d called it out, I wouldn’t have said anything.”
Coria tops Moya to win at Buenos Aires
Top-seeded Guillermo Coria defeated defending champion Carlos Moya 6-4, 6-1 Sunday to win the ATP Buenos Aires tournament.
It was a rematch of the 2003 final but Coria won the clay-court event this time. Moya had a 14-match winning streak here snapped.
Coria broke Moya in the third game, and that was enough to win the first set. He raced to a 4-0 lead in the second with the help of two service breaks before Moya held serve.
A third break gave the Argentine the match in 1 hour and 12 minutes.
“I played my best tennis of the tournament,” Coria said. “I knew I had to make use of all my opportunities to win and Moya gave me quite a few.”
Coria won his 19th straight clay-court match.
Coming off a nagging ankle injury, this was Moya’s first tournament in a month.
“When I came to Buenos Aires I still felt the ankle bothering me. I still continue to feel it, but that’s no excuse,” Moya said. “I haven’t regained my usual rhythm after the layoff and after losing the first set today, I realized it was going to be hard as I was getting a bit tired.”
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic wasted a chance to serve out the match and was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 by sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarterfinals Friday.
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