STANFORD, California (Ticker) - Venus Williams could not pull off another escape act. The second-seeded Williams succumbed Sunday to fourth-seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters, who claimed her third Bank of the West Classic title with a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
Also aiming for her third title at the $585,000 hardcourt event, Williams had saved a match point in her victory over Lindsay Davenport in the Wimbledon final on July 2 and five match points in Saturday's 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 semifinal victory over third-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.
But there was no magic Sunday as Clijsters never allowed Williams to gain any type of control. Clijsters claimed her fourth title of the year and third on hard courts, having won at Indian Wells and Miami in the spring. Williams slipped to 6-3 all-time against Clijsters. She had won their previous three meetings, including a 6-2, 6-3 rout in Antwerp earlier this year. Both players once held the top ranking in women's tennis before being sidetracked by injuries, and both have had lots of success here.
Clijsters improved to 15-2 in this event, beating Davenport in 2001 and Jennifer Capriati in 2003 around a loss in the final to Williams. Williams fell to 24-8 all-time here, winning in 2000 and 2002 and losing to Davenport in the final in 1998, 1999 and 2004.