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Tennis: Clijsters, Hewitt Score European Victories - 2004-02-22


World number-two women's tennis player Kim Clijsters of Belgium scored an easy victory over Italian veteran Silvia Farina-Elia, to win the Diamond Games tournament in Antwerp, Belgium.

Clijsters scored a 6-3, 6-0 win Sunday, to capture her first home-country victory and second title in as many weeks. It was her 21st win overall, following on the heels of her victory at the Paris Open last week.

Clijsters was the only leading player to survive in the tournament, after world number-one Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, third-ranked Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo, number-five American Jennifer Capriati and her countrywoman, two-time defending champion Venus Williams, all withdrew with injuries or illness. The 19th-ranked Farina-Elia challenged the home favorite during the first set, when her patient play and mix of slices and top-spins unsettled Clijsters. But once the Belgian got her serves and volleys under control, she completely dominated the second set.

In mens action, meanwhile, number-six seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia upset second-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero in three sets, to capture the ABN Amro tennis tournament in Rotterdam.

The two-time major champion overcame early jitters in his serve Sunday, then improved his play from the baseline to defeat Ferrero, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4. It was Hewitt's second victory of the season and 21st title of his career. Hewitt was favored to win by tournament director Richard Krajicek, despite an unusually strong field which included world number-one Roger Federer. But the Swiss player lost to Britain's Tim Henman in the quarterfinals, who in turn lost to Hewitt in the semifinals. Earlier in the day, Hewitt's fiancee Kim Clijsters of Belgium won the Diamond Games tournament in Antwerp.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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