It wasn't pretty, but defending champion Kim Clijsters prevailed tonight in a wind-swept, error-filled 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 quarterfinal match against Sam Stosur at the U.S. Open. Clijsters, the tournament's 2nd seed, had a lot of trouble with her serve, double-faulting eight times. For half of the match, Stosur was unable to hit a volley. There were fifteen breaks of serve, including all of Stosur's games in the final set. Clijsters made 36 unforced errors, and Stosur made 43.
Stosur's second set revival seemed to come out of nowhere, and she fought her way through the same way she did against Elena Dementieva in the round of 16. In that match, however, she was able to sustain a higher level of play, and she also had some help from a flustered Dementieva in the tiebreak. Tonight, she was able to break Clijsters in the third set, even though she couldn't hold her own serve. Clijsters, however, in her second career, has become better at closing big matches, and she was able to put a favorable end (with an ace) to an unfavorable contest.
This is the first time that 5th seed Stosur has advanced beyond the second round of the U.S. Open. Clijsters is now on a 19-match U.S. Open winning streak. She own the U.S. Open in 2005 and 2009, with the latter win coming shortly after she came back from retirement from pro tennis.
In the meantime, two-time champion Venus Williams, who--prior to arriving in Flushing Meadows--had not played since Wimbledon, made her way to the semifinals with a 7-6, 6-4 win over French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. The first set was very competitive, with Schiavone coming back from a 0-4 deficit in the tiebreak. Both sets were fun to watch because both women are such great movers and volleyers. But they, too, had to deal with the wind, and Williams committed nine double faults. There were mis-hit volleys and flying tennis balls. Schiavone hit with her signature spin, but the wind pulled even some of those shots outside the court. She threw in plenty of slices, but Williams was ready for her, and utilized her aggression to outplay the 6th seed.
Williams, who is seeded 3rd at the tournament, will play Clijsters in the semfinals. Last year, they met in the round of 16, and Clijsters won, with the odd score of 6-0, 0-6, 6-4. There is some indication that the wind may let up by Friday. Williams and Clijsters will play on Arthur Ashe Court, however, which is somewhat windy, even under normal conditions.