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Clijsters cruises to WTA Championship

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Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - was dominant on the way to an easy straight-set victory over in the title match of the WTA Championships on Monday night at the Staples Center. Clijsters lost the first game of the match, then won 12 of the next 13 in a 6-2, 6-0 rout and a successful defense of the title she won last year. The Belgian knocked off to win the 2002 crown.

This year's victory was worth $1,000,030, the biggest paycheck on the women's tour. The extra $30 represents the 30th anniversary of the WTA Tour.

Clijsters captured her ninth title of 2003 and the first-prize made the 20- year-old the first woman in sporting history to collect more than $4 million in season earnings.

Despite the victory and dominant season, Clijsters will finish the year as the second-ranked player in the world behind fellow Belgian - Hardenne, who lost to Mauresmo in the semifinals.

However, Henin-Hardenne's appearance in the semis enabled her to claim the year-end No. 1 ranking. She also had a strong season, including victories over Clijsters in the finals of the French and U.S. Opens.

Clijsters went undefeated during this tournament, winning all three of her matches in the round-robin portion of the event. She then rallied past an injured in the semifinals on Sunday.

Mauresmo grabbed a 1-0 lead in the match by breaking Clijsters' serve, but Clijsters regrouped and won the next four games. After both players held serve, Clijsters broke again to finish the opening set.

The second set was no contest.

Mauresmo won just 13 points and had her serve broken three times in the second set. She had a slim chance to get back in it, trailing 4-0, but with two break points in hand. Clijsters, though, fought back and won the fifth game, then broke Mauresmo again to win the match.

Clijsters connected on 78 percent of her first serves and produced 17 winners, while Mauresmo struggled with 23 unforced errors in the match that took just 52 minutes to complete.

Mauresmo fell to 0-5 against Clijsters this year and 2-7 in the all-time series.

Clijsters became the first woman to win the season-ending WTA event in consecutive years since Steffi Graf in 1995 and '96.

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