The unseeded, unranked Belgian beat No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday night to become the first mother to win a Grand Slam title since Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980. It's Clijsters' second major championship — she also won at Flushing Meadows in 2005, her last appearance at the Open.
The 26-year-old Clijsters hasn't even played enough matches to be ranked, and she needed a wild card to get into the tournament. She's the first woman not in the top 10 of the WTA rankings to win the U.S. Open.
The 19-year-old Wozniacki had never been past the fourth round at a major.
With daughter Jada in the stands, Clijsters dropped to her knees after her overhead slam clinched the match.
Clijsters beat five of the top 18 players in the world en route to the title, including both Williams sisters. Her stellar performance against Serena Williams in Saturday's semifinal was overshadowed by Williams' outburst that resulted in a penalty to decide the final point of the match.