| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

The BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup took place on Monday night, March 1 at Madison Square Garden. A crowd of more than 11,700 got a chance to watch high quality tennis as some of the top players on the WTA Tour competed on Monday night.

The unique format of the event featured two one-set, no-ad scoring semifinals first between Kim Clijsters and Ana Ivanovic and then between Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova. In the first semifinal, Clijsters came back from an early deficit to defeat Ivanovic 7-6 (2) and then Williams defeated Kuznetsova 6-4 to reach the final.

In the final, which was a best two out of three set match, Venus Williams defeated Kim Clijsters 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 to win her first Billie Jean King Cup. The match was thrilling from beginning to end and had some sensational points. It was a battle of Clijsters great touch vs Williams power. The crowd which was mainly pro-Williams was highly entertained.

"I had such a great time playing at MSG," said Venus Williams. "The crowd was amazing. Thanks to the fans for pulling me through for a win, great way to cap off the last two weeks."

This title win for Venus avenged her defeat in last years final to sister Serena. Serena Williams, the 2009 Billie Jean King Cup champion, was originally part of the event but was forced to withdraw with a leg injury. Ivanovic, who was in last year’s competition, happily replaced her in her match against Clijsters.

Between the Williams-Kuznetsova semifinal and the final, a special on-court ceremony celebrated the 2010 Tennis Hall of Fame inductees. This year’s Hall of Fame class are doubles legends Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva along with Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in the recent player category; Owen Davidson in the Master player category and in the contributor category, Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis, will be the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee. Derek Hardwick will also be inducted posthumously.

On hand for the ceremony were USTA Chairman of the Board and President Lucy Garvin was on hand for the ceremony along with a group of tennis greats, including John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl and Tony Trabert to celebrate the class of 2010’s achievements.

"I had a lot of fun at the Garden tonight playing Ana and Venus," said Kim Clijsters. "This is the best city to play in and I'm happy my game is back to a good level. "

Madison Square Garden hosted the 2010 BNP Parabis Showdown












Kim Clijsters during her match at the Garden













Ana Ivanovic faces Svetlana Kuznetsova at MSGAna Ivanovic faces Svetlana Kuznetsova at MSG













Ivanovic with the serve at MSG













The class of 2010 for the Tennis Hall of Fame is introduced to the Garden crowd











Venus Williams rests during her exhibition match at Madison Square Garden












Svetlana Kuznetsova during her match at MSG












Ana Ivanovic returns a serve at MSG during the 2010 BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup