Sharapova Wins Acura Classic To Move into Second Place in US Open Series
Clement Captures Legg Mason Tennis Classic for First US Open Series Victory
Maria Sharapova ended Kim Clijsters’ 24-match win streak at the US Open Series and US Open, defeating Clijsters in the final of the Acura Classic in San Diego (7-5, 7-5). Sharapova’s win moves her into second place in the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge behind Clijsters, who maintains her lead from last week with 120 points.
On the men’s side, Frenchman Arnaud Clement earned his first-ever US Open Series tournament title at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic with a 7-6(3), 6-2 win over Great Britain’s Andy Murray, to move into a tie for second in the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge with American James Blake and Tommy Haas of Germany. Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov took the lead in the men’s standings with his semifinal showing at the Legg Mason, following an appearance in the final last week in Los Angeles.
Clijsters loss to Sharapova was her first at the US Open Series and US Open since losing at the Acura Classic last year. Since then, Clijsters captured four US Open Series events and the 2005 US Open for a 24-match win streak in summer hardcourt events. But Clijsters’ win at the Bank of the West Classic followed by her performance in San Diego keeps her atop the leaderboard following Week Three. Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder, who finished eighth in the US Open Series standings last year, is in third place among the women, collecting points at the first two events.
The men's and women's winners of the US Open Series will compete for $1 million in bonus prize money at the 2006 US Open. The US Open Series leaders after Week Three are:
Next on the US Open Series: The US Open Series continues this week with Week Four. The men are contesting the Rogers Masters in Toronto -- including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s first appearance on the US Open Series this summer -- while the women remain in California for the third and final week with the JPMorgan Chase Open. ESPN2 will provide daily live coverage this week from Toronto starting with first round action on Monday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET. The men's final will air at 3 p.m. ET Sunday followed by the women's final at 5 p.m.
The US Open Series is the six-week summer tennis season linking 10 major ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour tournaments to the US Open. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week US Open Series has doubled television viewership and increased attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport. Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters were the winners of the 2005 US Open Series, with Clijsters doubling her prize money at the US Open to earn $2.2 million, the largest purse in women’s sports history. US Open Series sponsors include American Express, Lever 2000, MassMutual Financial Group and Olympus.