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Clijsters beats Venus, to face Zvonareva in final

 Vera Zvonareva of Russia returns the ball to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in N...
 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark pauses on the court during her 6-4, 6-3 loss to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during the semifinal round of play at the U.S....
 Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournamen...
 Kim Clijsters of Belgium serves to Venus Williams of the United States during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New Y...
 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark waves to fans after losiing 6-4, 6-3 to Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis...
 Venus Williams of the United States prepares to serve Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament ...
 Vera Zvonareva of Russia raises her racket after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tenni...
 Vera Zvonareva of Russia celebrates after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tourn...
 Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournamen...
 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark adjusts the strings on her racket during her match against Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the semifinal round of play at t...
 Venus Williams of the United States serves to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New Y...
 Kim Clijsters of Belgium reacts to a point against Venus Williams of the United States during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tou...

US Open Tennis

Vera Zvonareva of Russia returns the ball to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in N...

US Open Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark pauses on the court during her 6-4, 6-3 loss to Vera Zvonareva of Russia during the semifinal round of play at the U.S....

US Open Tennis

Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournamen...

US Open Tennis

Kim Clijsters of Belgium serves to Venus Williams of the United States during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New Y...

US Open Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark waves to fans after losiing 6-4, 6-3 to Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis...

US Open Tennis

Venus Williams of the United States prepares to serve Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament ...

US Open Tennis

Vera Zvonareva of Russia raises her racket after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tenni...

US Open Tennis

Vera Zvonareva of Russia celebrates after beating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tourn...

US Open Tennis

Venus Williams of the United States returns the ball to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournamen...

US Open Tennis

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark adjusts the strings on her racket during her match against Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the semifinal round of play at t...

US Open Tennis

Venus Williams of the United States serves to Kim Clijsters of Belgium during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New Y...

APTOPIX US Open Tennis

Kim Clijsters of Belgium reacts to a point against Venus Williams of the United States during the semifinal round of play at the U.S. Open tennis tou...

Venus Williams has lost only two of 54 U.S. Open matches when taking the first set, and suffered that second defeat Friday to the same woman who inflicted the first _ Kim Clijsters.
The Belgian beat Williams 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 in their semifinal, giving herself a chance to become the first woman since Venus in 2001 to successfully defend a U.S. Open title.
After trailing for much of the third set, Williams was right back in the thick of the match when serving at 4-all, 30-all.
At that moment, it didn't appear to matter that the 30-year-old Williams was bidding to become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title in two decades. Or that she arrived at Flushing Meadows coming off a left knee injury that meant she hadn't played a match in more than two months.
Then came two pivotal points. First, Williams double-faulted for the seventh time, giving Clijsters a break point. Next, Clijsters curled a perfect backhand lob over the 6-foot-1 Williams to go ahead 5-4.
Clijsters served it out, exending her U.S. Open winning streak to 20 matches and returning to the final, where she will take on Russia's Vera Zvonareva on Saturday.
"This is what you try to achieve," said Clijsters, also the 2005 U.S. Open champion. "I never expected I'd come back in this position. I was trying to do it. It wasn't easy, but I stuck with it."
Earlier Friday, Zvonareva reached her second Grand Slam final in a row by upsetting top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-4, 6-3, having also beaten a Williams sisters in the semifinals _ Serena .
Things looked good for Williams at the start. She converted the first set's only break point while winning 20 of 25 points on her serve and getting the better of Clijsters during lengthy baseline exchanges with powerful strokes from both.
Williams picked up easy points with aces or service winners, but in the second set, though, Clijsters made a key adjustment, playing closer to the baseline, tightening up her backswing and pushing Williams around more.
With the wind gusting, Williams increasingly found trouble with her groundstrokes, spraying more and more out of bounds, and ending up with 50 unforced errors.
"I felt that I was hitting well with the wind. I felt that I was making her move around, and that's what I was really tying to focus on," Clijsters said. "I was able to kind of rise to the occasion when I had to."
Still, her first six points in the pivotal tiebreaker arrived courtesy of mistakes by Williams, including a pair of double-faults and a badly botched overhead she sailed long.
Summed up Williams, who was hoping to get to her first U.S. Open final since 2002: "I wasn't able to play as well as I wanted. I had too many errors."
Afterward, she brushed aside a question about her future in a sport she and her sister have dominated for stretches, saying, "I definitely feel like I'll be back next year. This is what I do. I feel like I played great tennis, even with minimal preparation."
Clijsters missed the 2006 U.S. Open because of a series of health problems, including wrist surgery, then skipped the next two because she was taking time off to get married and have a baby. Her daughter Jada, now 2 1/2 years old, pranced around on court when the Belgian collected her trophy 12 months ago by defeating Wozniacki.
A rematch might have been expected by some, but Zvonareva took care of that, wearing a long-sleeved shirt to brace against the wind and staying focused at changeovers by draping a white towel over her head.
Zvonareva played in her first major final at Wimbledon in July, losing to Serena Williams, and now gets a second crack at a Grand Slam title. She was steadier than Wozniacki, who averaged 11 unforced errors through her first five matches of the tournament _ and made 31 against Zvonareva.
"With those windy conditions, you have to play, sometimes, ugly," Zvonareva said. "You don't have to expect to play your best tennis."


Updated : 2021-06-20 11:26 GMT+08:00