Sharapova, Clijsters to Meet in Finals

Both Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters will be looking to claim their third title of 2010 when they do battle Sunday in the finals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open.

Sharapova owns titles this season in Memphis and Strasborg, while Clijsters owns titles this season in Miami and Brisbane. Both are bidding to be the first player on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to win three titles in 2010.

This will be the eighth meeting between the former World No. 1s. 

Clijsters holds a 4-3 edge in their head-to-head meetings, but this will be their first match up since the 2007 Australian Open semifinals.

Twice in 2003 and two more times in 2005 Clijsters got the better of Sharapova. The tide turned in 2006, and Sharapova has now won three in a row against Clijsters.

Both former World No. 1s are looking for their first title in Cincinnati. Sharapova is making her Cincinnati debut this year.

This is the second straight appearance in Cincinnati for Clijsters, who last year reached the quarterfinals in her first tournament back after a brief retirement during which she gave birth to her daughter Jada.

Clijsters is a two-time US Open champion who has spent 19 weeks at No. 1. Her 37 career titles are good for fourth among active players. 

Sharapova counts titles at the Australian Open (2008), Wimbledon (2004) and US Open (2008) among the 22 she’s won in her career.  She has held the No. 1 ranking for 17 weeks in her career.

 The final will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday.