Unseeded Kim Clijsters is through to the semifinals of the U.S. Open after beating China’s Li Na in straight sets — setting-up a potential last four showdown with defending champion Serena Williams.
The 26-year-old Belgian, who has returned to competitive action after two years away from the sport to have a baby, cruised to a 6-2 6-4 victory and will play either second seed Williams, or Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, for a place in the final. “I’m just glad I got through this,” Clijsters told reporters. “I tried to stay focussed on my own game, mix it up and stay aggressive and winning those important points.” Clijsters won her only Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2005 but injury ruled out her defence the following year and in May 2007 she surprisingly walked away from the sport, saying she was tired of the injuries and lifestyle. During her time off, she married and had a baby daughter, but 18 months after giving birth, she came blistering back to action at the start of August with a view to making her mark again at the U.S. Open.
A big win over Venus Williams in the fourth round assured her of that — and she had little difficulty writing another chapter in her comeback saga against Li.
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The win and semifinal place meant Clijsters equalled the best recorded run by a wildcard at New York, matching Jimmy Connors in 1991.