Belgian gets off to the best possible start in her final season with victory over Sharapova Kim Clijsters got the perfect retirement present from Hong Kong yesterday when she won the Watsons Water Champions Challenge. The world number five, playing in her last competitive year, deservedly beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (10-8) to win the title for the second consecutive year and get her final season off to the best possible start. Not that she felt particularly sentimental about her career coming to a close. 'I'm not worrying about retiring at all. I know that this will be the last time I will be here but my goal is still to try and improve my tennis and do well this year,' Clijsters, 23, said. 'Retiring is not something I think about at all. Never say never, but I'll probably not be playing in Hong Kong competitively again. I don't know what my plans will be when I'm done, but I love this place and I hope to come back and visit.' World number two Sharapova didn't play badly, she was just unable to take her opportunities when they came up. 'I had a point on her serve in the second set and another in the tie-break, but I couldn't convert them,' she said. 'Those are chances you either take or don't. Today I didn't. She served better on the important points. Kim has had an amazing career and it's a pity she's retiring but life goes on. I wish her all the best.' After both dropping a service game each, Clijsters made the decisive breakthrough in the eighth game to go 5-3 up and then served out to win the first set 6-3. In the second set Sharapova had a set point on Clijsters' serve at 6-5, but the Belgium player held firm to hold her serve to force a tie-break. Clijsters had a match point at 7-6 but double-faulted twice to put Sharapova 8-7 in front and give her a second chance to win the set. Clijsters fought back again to draw level, however, before breaking the Russian's serve on the next point and serving out for the match 10-8. Both players entertained the packed crowd yesterday, but they were two contrasting figures off the court this week. Sharapova was aloof and distant; Clijsters was friendly and approachable. Sharapova is 19 and building a glittering career; Clijsters is retiring this year at only 23, fed-up with the daily grind of life on the tennis circuit. In the course of the week no matter who she played the cameras were always on the Russian starlet. For the Belgian player, whoever she was playing got as much attention as she did. But the most defining moment was at the official players' press conference on Tuesday when Sharapova sat centre stage, dressed to kill and bedecked with jewellery, while Clijsters sat off to her left dressed in a tracksuit, her only item of jewellery the engagement ring given to her by her fiancee, American basketball player Brian Lynch. They were the marquee players in the tournament yet they were poles apart. Yesterday we weren't just watching two great players in action but the two very different faces of modern women's tennis. When asked by a reporter yesterday if her contract with Nike was due for renewal Sharapova jokingly replied: 'Maybe they dropped me.' The prospect of this was as likely as her never doing another modelling assignment. As for Clijsters she has her wedding to plan for in July. But like the way she has handled herself all week, she doesn't want any fuss. 'I'm not going to be a 'Bridezilla'. It will be cosy and small. It will not be a big, grand ceremony. That's just not me,' she said. Hong Kong fans like her just the way she is, too.