Kim Clijsters's best chance to finally win her first Grand Slam tournament might come at next month's U.S. Open.
She has been unstoppable on American soil, all those nagging injuries that bothered her in the last year are healed and many of her top opponents have health problems of their own.
Clijsters broke serve six times and took advantage of Venus Williams's erratic game to beat the Wimbledon champion, 7-5, 6-2, for the Bank of the West Classic title yesterday in Stanford, Calif.
The fourth-seeded Clijsters defeated Williams for only the third time in nine meetings and ended a three-match losing streak to the 25-year-old American, earning her third championship in this event and fourth tournament win of the season.
"I think I've played very good in the past when I've made Grand Slam finals," Clijsters said. "I'm working hard to give myself another chance of hopefully reaching another Grand Slam final. We'll see."
Clijsters, who also won here in 2001 and 2003, will move up four spots to 10th when today's rankings are released, her first time in the top 10 since October. . . .
Third-seeded Gaston Gaudio beat Fernando Verdasco, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, to win the Generali Open in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in a match delayed two hours by rain. Verdasco saved eight match points before the Argentine finally closed out the victory. . . .
Guillermo Coria won his first ATP title of the season, beating Carlos Moya, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, at the Croatia Open in Umag.
The clay-court specialist lost his previous two finals at Monte Carlo and Rome, both to French Open champion Rafael Nadal. The Spanish teenager pulled out of this tournament with a sore knee.
* TRACK & FIELD: A groin injury will prevent world record holder Asafa Powell from competing in the 100 meters at the world track and field championships in Helsinki, his agent said.
The 22-year-old Jamaican pulled up with a torn ligament in his right groin at the Crystal Palace meet in London on July 22. The world championships begin Saturday.
Powell broke Tim Montgomery's world mark with a 9.77-second clocking June 14 in Athens, but did not race again until the London meet, where he went against Olympic champion Justin Gatlin.
* PRO FOOTBALL: The Arizona Cardinals agreed to a contract extension with wide receiver Anquan Boldin that would keep him with the team through the 2010 season. The six-year, $23.5 million contract includes signing bonuses of $5 million this year and $5 million in 2006.
* HOCKEY: Miroslav Satan became an unrestricted free agent after the Buffalo Sabres declined to make a qualifying offer to the team's six-time scoring leader.
* FISHING: Kevin VanDam won his second Bassmaster Classic title in five years, while Aaron Martens had to settle for another second-place finish in Pittsburgh.
VanDam was one of only two anglers to reach the five-bass limit on the third and final day of competition. His catch totaled 4 pounds 13 ounces, giving him a three-day total of 11 bass weighing 12 pounds 15 ounces.
"This is what we work for throughout our career," VanDam said.
-- From News Services