Acura Classic: Maria Sharapova wins in the final game

The title was Sharapova's first since winning at Indian Wells in March, and the 12th of her career. It was also the first time the Russian defeated Clijsters, a former No. 1, in five matches.

The last time Clijsters lost on North American summer hardcourts was here last year in the quarterfinals. Since then she has won four straight summer hardcourt tournaments, including last year at Los Angeles, Toronto and the U.S. Open for her only major title. Clijsters added the Bank of the West Classic title last week at Stanford, Calif.

The top-seeded Clijsters, who previously announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2007 season, was still hampered by a bad back in the finals. Clijsters, ranked No. 2, began to consistently miss her shots as the second set wore on.

Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion, and Clijsters played one incredibly long point with Sharapova serving for the first set at 6-5. The point featured a number of outstanding shots and saves on both sides before Sharapova drove a forehand into the net. The crowd erupted into a prolonged standing ovation as both players struggled to catch their breath, the AP reports.

After the players combined for seven service breaks in the first set, Clijsters held the only service breaks in the final set until the last game. The Belgian failed to convert on one break in the first game, three breaks in the seventh game and two more in the ninth game.

Clijsters, who won $100,000, became the ninth player to surpass $14 million in career earnings.

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