SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Clijsters Sets Belgian Blockbuster
Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin will meet in a blockbuster semi-final showdown at the Sony Ericson Open Thursday after both Belgian former World No. 1s enjoyed quarter-final wins Wednesday.
Henin will take a 12-11 edge in career meetings into the 9pm feature night match, but Clijsters won an epic battle in a third-set tie-break when they met most recently in the final of the Brisbane International in the first week of the season.
Clijsters, the 2005 Sony Ericsson Open champion, advanced to the semi-finals in Miami for the third time following a 6-3, 7-5 win over ninth-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur. Henin booked her semi-final ticket earlier in the day with a gritty 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 win over second seed Caroline Wozniacki.
Neither Clijsters nor Stosur seemed interested in engaging in protracted baseline exchanges Wednesday night; both attacked aggressively and looked to end the point at the earliest opportunity. Clijsters raced to a 3-0 advantage in the first set and successfully defended her lead as she closed out the set without facing a break point.
Stosur’s ability to hurt Clijsters from the ground – particularly off the forehand – increased as the match wore on and when broken in the fifth game of the second set, the new Top 10 member broke back immediately. Stosur showed great resilience and would be unhappy to have lapsed at 5-5, when she played a loose game and was broken to love. That was the only opening needed by Clijsters, who closed out the match on her first match point with a swinging forehand volley.
It was a clean performance from the reigning US Open champion, who hit 26 winners and 18 unforced errors, and offered up just one break point.
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