I fell asleep and missed the much-awaited semifinal between former No.1 and 2005 US Open champion Kim Clijsters and current world No.2 and 11-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, to wake up with the news that Clijsters progressed (wow!) and that the victory was quite controversial.
Since I didn’t watch the match, I have to say that for me the fact that wildcard Clijsters reached the final leaves a much greater impression than the controversy. I mean, who could put their money on Kim prior to the US Open? We all knew she was a great champion, and had a great potential even after child-birth and playing just the third tournament of her 2009 comeback, but a Grand Slam final is a very high goal. Not to mention that the title is not far away for Kim, having in mind her opponent will be world No.8 Caroline Wozniacki, who had never before went further than the fourth round at a Grand Slam.
Now let’s see what brought about the controversy. Serving at 5-6 15-30, the second-seeded Williams was called for a foot fault on a second serve, giving Clijsters two match points. The outraged Williams said a lot of things to the lineswoman, which resulted in a penalty and losing the point and the match.
“I swear to God I’m… going to take this… ball and shove it down your… throat, you hear that? I swear to God,” said Williams, who will now not overtake Dinara Safina at the top of the rankings.
“It’s unfortunate that a match I was playing so well in had to end that way,” said Clijsters after a 6-4 7-5 victory. “The normal feelings of winning a match weren’t quite there, but when everything sunk in a little bit and what happened got explained to me, it became easier to understand, not to celebrate, but at least to have a little joy.”
The Belgian is the first player ever to beat both Williams sisters at the same tournament twice, having also done it at the Sony Ericsson Championships in 2002 (at the 2009 US Open she beat Venus in the fourth round).
If Clijsters wins the final, she will enter the Top 20 and become the first women’s wildcard to win a Grand Slam singles title, and if she loses she will rise to around No.30 in the rankings.
Let’s just give some space to the other semifinal as well. Apparently, there will be no all-Belgian final at this US Open, as Danish Caroline Wozniacki defeated unseeded and error-prone Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-3 6-3 in the other semifinal. The surprise semifinalist Wickmayer made 40 unforced errors, compared to Wozniacki’s 14. (sources: Reuters, WTA, videos via Forty Deuce)