The US Open women's final will be played in prime time, under the lights on Saturday night, and with Kim Clijsters vying for a 3rd US Open title, and Vera Zvonareva for her first major, period, the match has high expectations.
Let's start with Vera. The Russian is a completely changed player in the span of a few months, losing her title as the WTA Tour's resident head-case and beating the world's top players, including Clijsters at Wimbledon and Caroline Wozniacki on Friday. Now, as Zvonereva is in that same elite group with the same women she was an overwhelming underdog against, she goes into the championship match with more experience and much more mental stability.
In that semifinal match with the top seeded Wozniacki, the number 7 seed was the steadier of the two, waiting for her opponent to commit the errors and succumb to the gusty conditions. In the end it was Bepa earning a 6-4, 6-3 win to reach her 2nd straight Grand Slam final. This time match number 7 will be much more winnable.
Clijsters will be going for her 21st straight win at the Open. She won here in 2005 and in 2009, and is extremely difficult to beat on Arthur Ashe. Her last title run, though, saw the Belgian play much more consistent tennis, and the streakiness of her serve could be a key reason why her win streak in NY might end. Against Venus Williams in the semifinals Kimmie was the better of the two off the ground, but both lacked rhythm on their serves. Ultimately, Clijsters edged out another win, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Should the 2nd seed play similarly to the way she did against Venus and Stosur, don't be surprised if Zvonareva triumphs, but it seems like the Big Apple lights bring out something extra in Kim, and that just might be the edge.
Winner: Clijsters in 3