Clijsters books semifinal showdown against Venus

Defending champion Kim Clijsters advanced to the US Open semifinals on Tuesday by defeating Australian fifth seed Samantha Stosur 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, to set up a showdown with US third seed Venus Williams.

Belgian second seed Clijsters will face Williams on Friday to determine a berth in Saturday’s final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Williams eliminated Italian sixth seed and French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

“She has been playing really well,” Clijsters said. “It’s a challenge. I look forward to it.”

By winning her 19th consecutive US Open match, Clijsters set up a semifinal battle of two-time US Open champions.
Clijsters did not play at the US Open between her 2005 and 2009 titles on the Flushing Meadows hard courts.

Clijsters has a 6-6 record against Williams, having won their past four meetings, including in last year’s US Open fourth round, when Clijsters won 6-0, 0-6, 6-4.

“We had a great match last year. It was really close,” Williams said. “I’m sure that match made a big difference for her, because she went on to win the title. I’m sure we’ll have another really good match-up.

“I would like to kind of flip the way it turns out.”

Clijsters and Stosur exchanged breaks in the first six games of the third set before the Belgian held serve, then broke Stosur again when the Aussie double faulted for a 5-3 advantage and held to win after one hour 54 minutes.

“I just had to be aggressive in the third set and keep going when my serve wasn’t as good as I would like it,” Clijsters said.

Clijsters, trying to become the first back-to-back US Open women’s champion since Williams in 2001, has lost only one set in the tournament.

Stosur, now 0-4 against Clijsters, missed a chance to become the first Aussie woman in the US Open semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.

Stosur broke Clijsters in the third game of the match to seize the lead, but in the eighth game Clijsters did the splits with her legs chasing down a shot and Stosur netted a forehand three shots later for a break to level at 4-4.

Stosur broke to open the second set. Clijsters broke back in the fourth game, but double-faulted away a break in the ninth game, then broke Stosur at love when the Aussie was serving for the set to level again at 5-5.

The French Open runner-up broke Clijsters again with a forehand cross-court volley and again served for the set, this time holding to force a third.—Sapa-AFP

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