Clijsters will defend her US Open title at the end of the month
Kim Clijsters recovered from a set down and survived three match points on her way to beating Maria Sharapova and winning the Cincinnati Open.
The 15th-ranked Sharapova led by a set and 5-3 but could not convert three chances to wrap up the match before the weather halted her progression.
The Belgian fourth seed edged a nervy tie-break as the Russian had to take an injury time-out with ankle problems.
Clijsters eased to a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win to secure her third title in 2010.
"I was so close to losing and then this dark cloud came," said the Belgian. "I thought I was hitting well from the baseline with her but my serve wasn't working well.
"During the delay I had to regroup and refocus, and when we came back to the court I played aggressively and turned it around. I'm really happy to win."
The pair had not met since Clijsters returned last year following a two-year break from the sport.
Sharapova, who had been seeking her 23rd career title after victories earlier this season at Memphis and Strasbourg, began in dominant fashion and few would have expected the turnaround that followed.
The reigning US Open champion must have been delighted with the thunderstorm that arrived when the Russian, who earlier this month was beaten in the Stanford final by Victoria Azarenka, required just one game for victory.
However, the Belgian dug deep and took the match to a third and deciding set after winning the tie-break, having trailed 3-0 at one stage.
It rocked Sharapova and, after needing a time-out for medical attention on her ankle, the errors increased and Clijsters sensed her opportunity.
Sharapova held serve and then denied Clijsters on two match points but there was no stopping the 27-year-old who, after two hours and 27 minutes, secured her 38th career singles title following victories this year in Brisbane and Miami.
"I had a wonderful week," said Sharapova. "It was my first week here and I had a wonderful welcome from all the fans and tournament.
"Congratulations to Kim on a great match and great tournament, I look forward to playing her again soon. I'll definitely be back next year."
Sharapova later pulled out of this week's WTA tournament in Montreal after suffering the injury to her foot.
But she hopes it will heal in time for the US Open beginning on 30 August.
"I felt some pain in my foot late in the second set which kind of scared me so I have been forced to pull out of Montreal," she said.