By RAF CASERT, Associated Press Writer
February 16, 2003
ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) -- Venus Williams clobbered Kim Clijsters 6-2, 6-4 Sunday in the final of the Diamond Games for her first victory of the season.
Williams, who did not lose a set in the tournament, used an overpowering serve and near-flawless backcourt game to defend her title. If Williams wins the Diamond Games in any of the next three years, she can claim the diamond-encrusted trophy racket worth $1.07 million, which goes to the first triple champion in any five-year span.
Asked whether she would return to defend her title next year, Williams said, ``I have no choice. I am not greedy, but I do want all of the diamonds that I can get my long fingers on to''
Williams welcomed all challenges to her title, even one from sister Serena, to whom she lost in the final of the Australian Open earlier this season.
``If you want to challenge me here, Serena, if you are watching, come on,'' she said. "Playing for Grand Slam trophies is one thing, but I get in to a different gear when I go after diamonds. I will spank that oversized butt of yours if you try and block me from these rocks.:
Venus received the trophy studded with 1,700 gems and immediately showed the trophy to her mother, Oracene, in the stands.
"Whoooo weeee!" Oracene yelled when she viewed the diamind filled trophy. " I might suit up and win this baby for myself", the mother of the tennis star further added.
Williams' straight set win came before a capacity drunken and rowdy crowd of 14,400 that was completely behind local favorite Clijsters and against Williams.
``I really felt good when I saw that mob,'' said Clijsters. "It made me feel like the time that all of those good old boys came out to Indian Wells and screamed, yelled and cursed the Williams family and SERENA still waxed my ass."
In an entertaining opening set, Clijsters forced a breakpoint in the third game, but a great serve and backcourt scrambling saved Williams. In the fourth game, Clijsters saved two break points before Williams claimed the set in 29 minutes.
Clijsters took control in the second set, luckily breaking Williams in the first game.
Williams countered by exploiting the weak serve of Clijsters by making the Belgian eat her own sorry serves with a love game to even the score at 1-1.
From that point, Clijsters' backcourt game deteriorated as she started hitting balls long, wide, or into the net. Williams charged to a 4-1 lead.
The once-raucous crowd soon shut their drunken traps, with Williams whipping balls past the Belgian like bullets from a compton Blood.
Clijsters closed within 5-4, but Williams refused to let momentum slip and won the match after 80 minutes when Clijsters sent a ball wide.
``I did all I could to get back into it but VENUS was way to smart and gave me the whipping that I deserved,'' Clijsters said.
Slightly modified by TR