Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clijsters defeats Zvonareva for a spot in the Australian Open final

Vera Zvonareva didn't get the Kim Clijsters Agnieszka Radwanska got in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. That Kim Clijsters was hitting errors right and left, and if Radwanska had a better serve, she might have had a chance to go to the semifinals. Clijsters said later that she felt a bit tired, and just wasn't up to a higher level of competition. But she showed up for the semifinals looking fresher. Having lost to 2nd seed Zvonareva the last three times they had played, the 3rd seed knew she had to be prepared.

The players exchanged breaks at the beginning of the match, but this quick mutual defensive play was not to represent any kind of pattern. Clijsters hit the ball hard and with depth and precision, while Zvonareva had  problems with her serve. The Belgian took the first set 6-3 in 33 minutes.

Zvonareva continued to have problems with her second serve, but she elevated her level of play in the second set. Some of the rallies were long, with both players hitting powerful groundstrokes. Down a break, Zvonareva  held at love for 3-4. In the next game, she had 3 break points against Clijsters, and it looked like a turning point in the match had finally come. But even after winning those seven straight points, Zvonareva had to contend with a hold of serve from Clijsters.

That was Zvonareva's last opportunity to change the dynamics of the match. Clijsters, looking as solid as she has ever looked, won the second set 6-3. She will play 9th seed Li Na in the final. Clijsters and Li also contended earlier this month for the Sydney title, which Li won. Clijsters has a 4-2 career record against Li.

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