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Clijster rules Miami

MIAMI, April 4- US Open champion Kim Clijsters steamrolled Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday to win her second Miami hardcourt WTA title.

"I felt from the beginning I was ready to go and really seeing the ball well," said Clijsters, who claimed her third title since starting a comeback last year after more than two seasons away from the WTA.

Clijsters, the 14th seed, also won here in 2005 – two years before she retired.

Now the Belgian, who married and had a baby during her break from the tour, will climb to number 10 in the world rankings next week, the highest ranking for the former number one since her return.

Her young daughter, Jada, was watching from the stands as the 26-year-old wrapped up the victory in just 58 minutes, lifting her arms in triumph when Williams sailed a forehand long on the first of three-match points.

Top-ranked Serena Williams sat in the photographers’ pit and cheered her sister, but Venus couldn’t get her game on track.

While Serena has been sidelined with a left knee injury since her Australian Open victory, Venus had been the hottest player on the WTA tour with 15 consecutive match wins as well as titles in Dubai and Acapulco last month.

But the third-seeded American, who won the prestigious Miami title in 1998, 1999 and 2001, finished with a total of 29 unforced errors and won only nine points in the second set as her usually dominant first serve let her down.

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"It wasn’t my best day," said Williams, who had never lost a Miami final before.

"She played extremely solid, but it’s not like I was blown off the court. Unfortunately I was my own worst enemy."

Clijsters, brisk and aggressive, made the most of Williams’ struggles.

She took a 3-1 lead in the first set, and cemented her grip on the match in the next game when Williams, up 40-15, went on to drop her serve with the aid of an overhead slammed into the net, two double faults and a netted volley.

Williams would win only two more games in the match.

"Today wasn’t my best day physically," she said. "To fight errors and not feel your best, it’s a mental battle."

Meanwhile, Clijsters kept her focus, committing only a dozen unforced errors.

The Belgian who triumphed in three sets over Williams in the fourth round of the US Open last year, said that once she gained an edge, she wanted to make sure Williams wouldn’t have a chance to get back into the match.

"That’s something I was really trying to focus on, just trying to not give her any easy mistakes.

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"In the beginning I’ll have to say I was a little worried with the serves that she was hitting at me.

"The pace was very high. So if she would have been serving like that throughout the whole match, it would have been tough to break her."

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