From the time she was a teen, Kim Clijsters loved playing on American hard courts. She liked the way she could move on the surface, liked the way she could see the ball.
Her game is now as good as it gets on this stuff.
Clijsters won a second consecutive U.S. Open championship and third overall Saturday night, easily beating Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 in a final that lasted one hour and lacked any drama.
Clijsters is the first woman since Venus Williams in 2000-01 to win the title in Flushing Meadows two years in a row. And Clijsters' U.S. Open winning streak is actually up to 21 matches because she also won the 2005 title. She missed the tournament in 2006 because of injuries, including wrist surgery, and skipped it the next two years while taking time off to get married and have a baby.
Her 2 1/2 -year-old daughter, Jada, was in the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
Last year in New York, when Jada pranced around the court during the postmatch ceremony, Clijsters became the first mother since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1980 to take home a major trophy.
On Saturday, in addition to another silver cup, Clijsters was awarded $2.2 million - the champion's check of $1.7 million, plus another $500,000 for finishing second in the U.S. Open Series standings that take into account hard-court tuneup tournaments.
"I've always felt more comfortable on this surface. Not just this year, but even when I was 14, 15, 16," the 27-year-old Clijsters said in an interview the week before the U.S. Open began.
"Everything comes easier."