Kim Clijsters claimed her Tour-leading third title of 2010 with a come- from-behind 2-6 7-6(4) 6-2 win over Maria Sharapova in the final of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open.
The title is the 38th in the career of Clijsters, which is good for third among active players.
The victory came after Clijsters survived three championship points for a Sharapova as well as a mid-afternoon thunderstorm.
Clijsters struggled with her serve in the opening set, and Sharapova took full advantage to secure two breaks of serve and win the first set 6-2.
Sharapova had two early breaks in the second set, though she gave on back before Clijsters served at 3-5.
In the very dramatic ninth game, with thunder in the distance and dark clouds looming, Sharapova had three match points.
Sharapova missed a forehand wide on her first match point. Clijsters saved the second match point with a service winner, then squandered a game point of her own.
Sharapova had her chance with a third match point as rain started to fall in the stadium. A 10-stroke rally dominated by backhands ended with a wide shot from Sharapova.
The error resulted in the fifth deuce of the game, but the skies opened up before Clijsters was able to begin the next point.
The storm sent the players off the court for nearly 90 minutes, and when play resumed, Clijsters quickly rattled off two straight points to close out the game and give Sharapova the chance to serve for the match at 5-4.
Clijsters managed to break the Russian’s serve, and push the set toward a tie-break, that the Belgian eventually won 7-4.
In the final set, Clijsters scored the first edge with a break in the third game, after which Sharapova received treatment on her left foot.
Sharapova appeared bothered by the injury, and was broken again in the fifth game.
With Sharapova playing Sunday, it marked the fifth year in a row that a Russian has contested the Cincinnati final.