My report on the Hamburg Final
In the first set Venus was absolutely dominating, playing at least as well as she did against Hingis. She seemed to be very confident - at one time she even took a return of serve right out of the air, smacking it into the corner.
In the 2nd set, however, Venus seemed to be losing confidence a little after she made a few too many mistakes. She wasn't serving at 100% speed anymore, wasn't nearly as aggressive. Clijsters on the other hand realised she had to go for it more, and took the balls early and played close to the lines. ZDF didn't show us the complete match, they skipped the first 5 games of the 3rd set so I don't know how Clijsters got to the 4-1 lead. At that point I thought the Venus of the 1st set had returned because she was taking more risks again and almost got to 4-4. Clijsters didn't choke like Henin at Amelia Island and wasn't afraid to attack -she even went to the net on match point but Venus played an unbelievable passing shot. On the 2nd matchpoint Venus made an error.
I don't think Venus was having problems with her ankle because she seemed to be moving just fine. The reasons she lost was IMO that
1). her serve didn't work as well as it did yesterday
2). she was a little too passive in the 2nd and 3rd and she was too erratic
3). Clijsters played impeccable and didn't choke
I think this was one of those rare matches that venus lost simply because the opponent BEAT her rather than that she beat herself...however Venus did give Clijsters the chance to beat her by making too many errors and losing confidence a little.
Congrats to Clijsters for being the first player to beat Venus in a final since Davenport in Linz 2000!