Serena Williams Disqualified, Kim Clijsters advances to the Finals

13 Sep 2009 by Hiland in 2009 US Open

Serena Williams yells at a line judge at the 2009 U.S. Open tennis tournament.There has been no doubt who the most fierce competitor in the women’s game has been. After all, Serena Williams has won 11 Grand Slam Singles titles. As television commentators have made clear throughout this event, one does not accomplish that by beating one’s self or playing beyond one’s self.

Serena Williams had not made more than $26 million on the tour by beating herself. Serena Williams did not win those 11 Grand Slam titles by playing beyond herself. On Saturday, she did both.

Veteran Kim Clijsters, thought retired just months ago, came all the way back Saturday evening. She did the unthinkable. She tamed Serena Williams. She made the game’s biggest star appear vulnerable. Kim Clijsters showed all the poise, power and grace that it takes to beat the youngest Williams sister. Kim allowed Serena no quarter in hard fought battle of two superstars.

In a convincing win, Clijsters had more game than Serena expected or likes. The defending U.S. Open champ could not bully or play her way past the Belgium star.

The match ended in remarkable fashion to the stunned disappointment of a less than full Flushing Meadows, Arthur Ashe Stadium. After losing the first set 4-6, Williams was serving at 5-6, 15-30 when the service line judge called a stunning foot fault on the second serve. It was the second foot fault of the match called against the American star, who broke her racquet after the first. The score would have been 15-40 but Williams persisted and appeared to threaten the line judge.

The diminutive line judge appealed to the chair umpire who summoned tournament officials. Clijsters was awarded the next point and the match was over.

When the officials made their decision, Williams dropped her racquet and walked to the victor for a final handshake before leaving the court. The confused crowd never really acknowledged Clijsters dominant performance.

And in this match, on this day, Kim Clijsters was the better player. Serena Williams knew it and did not like it. In fact, Kim put Serena in the uncomfortable position the defending champion has often put lesser players.

Clijsters is a former number one who is only in the event due to a wild card award. Kim won the 2005 U.S. Open for her only Grand Slam title. After having a child nine months ago, Clijsters has re-tuned her game and appears to be playing with newfound balance and focus.

Serena Williams was quoted by the Associated Press as saying to the line judge; “If I could, I would take this (expletive deleted) ball and stick it down your (expletive deleted) throat and kill you.”

In post match interviews, Williams acknowledge the inappropriateness of her conduct. The game has been good to Serena Williams. Her interview was poised and calm. She was complimentary of Clijsters’s play.

The defending champ is not used to players rising to the occasion in big moments and Clijsters was definitely in the moment. She played beautiful tennis, winning 70 points to 57 points for Williams. She seemed likely to win the match before the abrupt ending. Clijsters was winning the battle of the serves, landing 69% of her first serves compared to 55% of Serena’s.

Williams had an unusually high 31 unforced errors compared to 18 for the winner. Clijsters’ win marks the first time a wild card entry has reached the finals where she will play Danish star Caroline Woznicaki. Clijsters will be a heavy favorite to claim her second major title. The finals will take place on Sunday. Weather is expected to be good.



  • Kim didn’t win because she is such a good player, she won because Serena was “off” her game. I watched the match and was unimpressed with Clijster’s game which was quite boring and rudimentary. And incidentally, Serena maintained in a later press conference that she did not say that she would “kill” the line judge to which the line judge told her that was not what she (the line judge) had said to the other officials.

    Comment by Andrea — September 14, 2009 @ 1:35 am

  • The better woman won. Serena is on her way down. She was beat mentally, then physically – the rest will follow!

    Comment by Jeff Marek — September 14, 2009 @ 3:44 am

  • “Serena maintained in a later press conference” a bunch of lies as the court recordings show not only is she a bully, she is also lies like a little kid to try to rationalize and justify her unprofessional persona!

    Comment by Jeff Marek — September 14, 2009 @ 3:47 am

  • It’s unfortunate that so many people(Andrea etc) don’t have a brain but continue to speak. Kim won because she beat probably the worst example of a poor sport female athlete in the history of sports. Kim is simply much better period. That pathetic display by Ms Williams just shows that you can give trash money, but they are still trash. She should be disqualified from the US Open, forfeit all money and points and be banned from tennis until at least July 2010…and her sponsors should take a serious look at whether or not they want to be associated with something like that!.. She is a disgrace to sports, tennis, women athletes and Blacks!

    Comment by Paul — September 14, 2009 @ 4:25 am

  • Serena wasn’t taught to be such a sore loser. She should pray to God for that behavior problem.

    Comment by kiki — September 14, 2009 @ 4:58 am

  • Williams showed the world her true self. I watched the match and was astonished with her behavior. Well maybe not, I had expected something like this sooner or later. Unbelievably as one of our representatives in the world of tennis, she embarrassed The United States, her friends and family as well. I am shocked that she was not suspended for a good period of time and that her fine was a minimal $10,000. A mere a slap on the wrist. What are they saying to the rest of the world? Any other player would have been fined a $100,000 and suspended to boot. Kim won not only because she is a better player, but also because she is the better woman. I was saddened that she was unfortunately excluded from her well deserved celebration from the crowd. I feel she won the match and she proved she was the better player when she won the tournament as well.

    Comment by LRA — September 14, 2009 @ 5:59 am

  • If Kim was a better player how come she is only just getting her 2nd major grand slam title? The simple fact is Serena beat herself. Its just one of those fluke games that happen once in awhile.

    Its funny how John McEnroe was believed to be good for tennis when he had similar outbursts, and conducted himself in a similar manner some years ago. Or was it because he is white, and Serena is black? Could it be, and I hope not, that all the ill feelings for the Williams sisters’ success, isn’t fueling the excessive criticism?

    And finally why didn’t they just simply use the electronic camera to verify the line call? How can officials be so stupid? Haven’t they been using it to verify other types of calls? Good heavens!!!

    Comment by Robert — September 14, 2009 @ 6:53 am

  • There are so many athletes who get caught up in the pressure put on them to win, win, win, and ultimately that keg is going to explode sometimes. We see it all the time in professional basketball, football and god knows HOCKEY. And when the officials come off like they may be calling a game one sided consistently, clear thinkers will see through that (yes you whoever said Andrea has no brain). Serena and her sister, Venus, have PROVEN to be exceptional in what they do so I just don’t understand why everybody is coming down so hard on Serena. She is certainly not a “disgrace to sports, tennis, women athletes and Blacks.” What could you possibly hold out as proof of that?! What are your opinions about John Mackenrowe(sp?) who exploded on the court all the time but was a marvelous player. Serena admitted to being frustrated and saw this as a learning experience as all young people go through. Whose perfect…these bloggers? These athletes are people who love the game. Have you watched a basketball game, a track meet, a “hail Mary” pass at the end of a quarter and found the play to close to call. Get with the sports loving fans for real and you will see this for what it really is and that is PASSION FOR THE GAME!!!

    Comment by Andrea — September 14, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  • One incident does not a problem make.

    Comment by Andrea — September 14, 2009 @ 7:07 am

  • This is what happens when someone is told her whole life that her s__t doesn’t stink and then has that theory publicly blown to bits. I hesitate to use the word “uppity”, but… well…

    Comment by Tom — September 14, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  • Serena melted down in an ugly display of aggression against the poor linesperson. She deserves all the punishment she gets. The biggest hurt of all was her own behavior. She needs to apologize and make it sound sincere.

    Comment by bill — September 14, 2009 @ 7:23 am

  • good article.

    Comment by MICHAELLYEATL — September 14, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  • Serena should lose any winnings she would have made in this tourny and be banned from the next couple of Grand Slams. She has the presence of a big man and if I were to threaten to kill a small woman in front of thousands of witnesses, I would be charged with a crime. Watch the video again and imagine how you would feel if you were that line judge. Whether the call was correct or not in of no issue in this case – it’s the threat that should be punished.

    Comment by robert — September 14, 2009 @ 10:19 am

  • How unfortunate for Serena. Not making an excuse for her, but all women experience an emotional and physioligical change on a “monthly” basis. I’m just sorry her time was during the finals. I believe in a few days she will apologize, but no one is going to be harder on her than herself. To help those that do not know, it is a “woman” thing not a race thing….trust me.

    Comment by Peg — September 14, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  • Andrea, what match were you watching? Do you even play tennis? Clijsters ran Serena all over the court with an accuracy that seemed to defy human authorship. Serena’s game was “off” because of the pressure Clijsters was able to apply. It’s a well-known feeling to all who have played the game. One can look and feel so good against a weaker opponent, against weaker shots, but meet a stonger one who keeps you on your heels and running for your life and the game that’s left you will certainly be “off…” “Boring and rudimentary??!!!” Rather, a spectacular exhibition of consistent accuracy and power by the only good sport on the court! There was no excuse for Serena’s match-ending machinations other than her need to take her ego-driven frustrations (which, again, were brought about by the intense pressure applied by Clijsters) out on someone else… Your hero has stumbled badly… let’s hope she can get back up.

    Comment by Rod — September 14, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  • Well first of all we all have bad days her and her sister have been doing great for years and for her to be treated this way is unfair and they should have had it on tape. People should not talk about her it is not like they r out there even trying and if she did say anything wrong then yes she should apologize. You all need to stop with the race issues she is great and u know it so stop hating

    Comment by twg — September 14, 2009 @ 11:13 am

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