HOBART: Sania Mirza's run at the Moorilla International came to an end after she lost to top seed and World No. 13, Anna Chakvetadze of Russia, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals of the Moorilla International here on Thursday.

Sania had a perfect start when she broke Chakvetadze in the very first game of the match. But the Russian fought back and broke Sania in the next game. Sania was broken again in the tenth game, which cost her the set 4-6.

In the second set, Chakvetadze did not give any chance to Sania. She set the momentum and broke Sania twice to take a 5-0 lead before wrapping it up.

Fightback

At the Medibank International in Sydney, Kim Clijsters survived a ferocious fightback from China's Li Na to book her place in the final against in-form Serb Jelena Jankovic.

Third seed Clijsters had to draw on all her big-match experience and reserves of energy in the scorching heat to record a 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 victory at Sydney's Olympic Tennis Centre.

Jankovic produced an inspired performance in beating Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her second final in a week, despite struggling with lower back pain for most of her match against the eighth seed.

Clijsters sailed through her first two matches for the loss of just six games but said Li had given her the perfect workout she needed for next week's Australian Open.

"It's nice to be out on the court like this and be challenged," she said.

"Not just by your opponent but by the heat and everything, that makes it a lot more challenging."

Blake on course

In the men's event, American James Blake remained on course to defend his title with an impressive 6-1, 6-4 win over Russian teenager Evgeny Korolev.

The World No. 4 showed off his full range of shots to book his place in the semifinals with a routine win over the cousin of former tour professional Anna Kournikova.

At the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne, Roger Federer honed his razor-sharp tennis to near-perfection as he stormed into the final with a 6-3, 7-6(2) defeat of Russian rival Marat Safin.

The contest, which lasted just over an hour, was a sharp contrast to the laboured victory the World No.1 earned over Radek Stepanek.

Streaky Russian Safin looms as a potential spoiler for Federer's chances at a second consecutive Australian Open title when the first major of the season begins on Monday at Melbourne Park.

Polishing his game

Federer polished his lethal, silky-smooth game in a swirling wind, a challenge that he gleefully accepted.

"There's always winds at Kooyong," said the holder of a dozen titles from 2006. "I warmed up on Rod Laver (showcourt at Melbourne Park) this morning and there was no wind.

"Then I came here and Marat said he trained only 15 minutes because he got frustrated with the wind. It's kind of good, more wind here makes the Australian Open probably easier to play. I thought our level was pretty good".

Defending champion Andy Roddick, who beat Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday, and Andy Murray, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Ivan Ljubicic, will meet on Friday for a place in the final.

Important results:

At Hobart (WTA Tour Moorilla International): Semifinals: Vasilisa Bardina bt Sybille Bammer 6-3, 6-1; Anna Chakvetadze bt Sania Mirza 6-4, 6-1.

At Sydney (ATP & WTA Medibank International): Women: Semifinals: Kim Clijsters bt Li Na 6-1, 1-6, 7-5; Jelena Jankovic bt Nicole Vaidisova 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

Men: Singles: Quarterfinals: James Blake bt Evgeny Korolev 6-1, 6-4; Jurgen Melzer bt Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4; Carlos Moya bt

Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(3).

At Melbourne (Kooyong Classic): Promotion: Roger Federer bt Marat Safin 6-3, 7-6(2). Relegation: Ivan Ljubicic bt Tommy Haas 7-6(5), 6-4; Radek Stepanek bt Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 7-6(4).

At Auckland (ATP Heineken Open): Quarterfinals: Agustin Calleri bt Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-4, 6-3; David Ferrer bt Kristof Vliegen 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Tommy Robredo bt Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 5-7, 6-2. Mardy Fish bt Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6(3), 7-6(8).

Second round: Mardy Fish bt Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-4; Philipp Kohlschreiber bt Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-3. Agencies

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