Tue, Aug 01, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Clijsters wins fourth Bank of the West Classic title


Kim Clijsters returns a serve against Patty Schnyder in the finals of the Bank of the West tennis tournament in Stanford, California, on Sunday.


Kim Clijsters won her fourth Bank of the West Classic title in six years on Sunday, effortlessly beating Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-2 to stay unbeaten in the event since 2002.

The hardcourt specialist got off to another sterling start in the five events leading up to the US Open, where she won her first Grand Slam title last year. The well-heeled crowd at the tournament on Stanford University's campus cheered loudly for its local favorite during a 52-minute match -- her shortest of the week.

Clijsters won the tournament in 2001 and 2003, missed the event with an injury one year later, and then repeated her title last year, beating Venus Williams.

"It feels so familiar every time I come back here," said Clijsters, who never faced a break point against Schnyder. "It feels so comfortable. I stay in the same hotel ... I like the intimate stadium, and from the first time I played here, I had that good feeling. It's only become better over the years."

Yes, Stanford loves Clijsters, and she loves it right back. She has won this tournament more times than anyone except Martina Navratilova, who has six titles in the San Francisco Bay Area's long-running WTA Tour event.

In Sunday's final, Clijsters overwhelmed her opponent with sharp serves, then ran her ragged with back-and-forth groundstrokes to win her 32nd career title and her second this season, following a victory in Warsaw in May.

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