SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 2 (UPI) -- After winning a semifinal match that lasted more than two hours, Ai Sugiyama overcame doubles partner Kim Clijsters of Belgium in Sunday's championship match to win the State Farm Women's Classic.
Due to rain on Saturday, Sugiyama and American Alexandra Stevenson had to play their semifinal match early Saturday. Sugiyama needed to stave off three match points before recording a 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) victory in a match that took 2 hours, 12 minutes.
After just 90 minutes of rest, Sugiyama came back to the Fairmont Princess Hotel center court to upset the second seed and third-ranked player in the world, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, in 2 hours, 4 minutes.
"I felt tired when I was playing that second match, but actually it worked good," Sugiyama said. "I didn't feel any added pressure because I was too tired.
"I just focused on every point. That helped me, I think. Even if I was feeling tired, I had to push myself, 'Just one point, one point.' I don't know how I pulled it out."
Sugiyama claimed her fourth WTA Tour singles title -- her first at a Tier II event. She picked up $93,000 for her first tournament victory since winning the Japan Open in 1998.
The 26-year-old from Japan will move up in the WTA rankings from No. 25 into the top 20 when the rankings are released Monday.
Sugiyama improved to 3-2 lifetime against Clijsters, handing her just the third loss in her last 16 matches.