Tennis

Clijsters, Li in Sydney women's final

Kim Clijsters of Belgium celebrates winning her semifinals match against Alisa Kleybanova of Russia during the Sydney International tennis tournament on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.

Kim Clijsters of Belgium celebrates winning her semifinals match against Alisa Kleybanova of Russia during the Sydney International tennis tournament on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011.   | Photo Credit: Rob Griffith

Third seed Kim Clijsters dodged an upset bullet as the Belgian finally held off Russia Alisa Kleybanova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) Thursday to move into the final of the Medibank International.

Clijster, a three—time US Open winner, will face off against China’s eighth seed Li Na, who beat Serbian Bojana Jovanovski 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 and will play in her first final since winning in Birmingham on grass the week before Wimbledon.

Clijsters was made to work for her narrow win, spending more than two and a half hours in going through. Both women fired six aces, with Clijsters recovering form a deficit in the final set to overhaul the finalist against Ana Ivanovic in Bali at the end of last season.

Kleybanov faced 14 break point while Clijsters saved five of 10.

In the men’s draw, third seed Ernests Gulbis kept up his progress, moving into a semi—final after reaching the quarters last weekend in Doha.

The young Latvian beat Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 and will Friday face Frenchman Gilles Simon, a winner over another Ukrainian in Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-3.

Simon is fighting back to form after once standing sixth in the world but currently 41st after knee injury dramas.

“Today it was very hard to play; the conditions are extremely hard,” said the winner.

Simon, 26, is coming back to form after winning the Metz title last autumn. But he said conditions were challenging.

“There was a lot of wind and it was hard to serve form one side.

It’s difficult to play your best tennis in this condition. But I did well,” said Simon.

Gulbis, who lost in Doha to Rafael Nadal, broke Stakhovky three times and lost his own once in just over 90 inutes.

“Yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) match (over Russian Igor Andreev) killed me physically. It was really humid and I lost a lot fluids, so straight I went to the hotel and I went to sleep. I didn’t feel good,” said Gulbis.

“In the second set today I was a bit tired, getting more tired every game. I would have lost for sure if we had gone to a third set.”

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 3:31:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Clijsters-Li-in-Sydney-womens-final/article15517940.ece

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