Kvitova upsets Clijsters 6-4, 6-3 in Paris final

Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters lost to Petra Kvitova of

the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Open Gaz de France

on Sunday.

Clijsters still will unseat Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark as the

top-ranked player when the new rankings are released Monday.

”I think in the past matches where I beat her, she showed some

of the best tennis but it wasn’t quite consistent,” said

Clijsters, who won their two previous meetings. ”Today she was

very consistent in her level, so she deserved to win because she

was better.”

The Belgian slammed an ace to save a match point, but Kvitova

converted her second match point with a forehand winner.

”I would like to dedicate this trophy to my grandfather, who

passed away last week,” Kvitova said. ”I played for my

grandfather. I’m happy I won the tournament for him.”

The victory is not a complete surprise. Kvitova has won 16 of 17

matches this season and won the WTA Newcomer of the Year award last

season.

”You’ve been playing some great tennis over the last year, but

I think in these last two months you’ve improved so much,”

Clijsters told Kvitova on court. ”So I wish you nothing but the

best for the future.”

The 20-year-old Kvitova will climb to No. 14 in the rankings

Monday and is a left-hander like her idol, Martina Navratilova.

”I played very well against Kim – I’m surprised,” Kvitova

said. ”I knew I had to play my game, fast and hard. I had to be

the first who made the big shot.”

Kvitova put the top-seeded Clijsters under pressure with her

powerful serve and deep shots.

The fourth-seeded Kvitova cracked a forehand return winner to

lead 1-0 in the second set. But Clijsters broke back in the next

game when Kvitova sent a backhand wide.

Clijsters then missed a routine forehand volley to give the

Czech a 4-3 lead.

In the first set, Clijsters dropped serve in the opening game

when a backhand slice from Kvitova caught the tape before dropping

on the other side of the net.

But Clijsters whipped a backhand pass down the line to break

back in the next game.

Kvitova hit a backhand return winner to lead 3-2 and took the

first set when Clijsters sent a backhand into the net.

”She was putting so much pressure on me,” Clijsters said.

”She was serving extremely well, so it was very hard for me to

return aggressively, which is something you have to do against

her.”

Kvitova served 10 aces to only one for Clijsters.

”She has such powerful and easy groundstrokes that come very

deep as well,” Clijsters said. ”It’s very hard to get out of that

once she’s pushing into that zone.”

Earlier Sunday, Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann

Shaughnessy won their first doubles title together by beating Vera

Dushevina and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-4, 6-2.