Kim Clijsters continued her Australian Open title defence with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) quarterfinal win over Caroline Wozniacki that will cost the Danish player the No. 1 ranking.
The four-time major winner will next play third-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who had a 6-7 (0), 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska.
Clijsters and Wozniacki both started nervously, with three service breaks to start the match. But the 28-year-old Belgian dictated play from her first hold in the fourth game until she was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second.
She had the rally on her racket at 30-30 but let her guard down and allowed Wozniacki back into the match. Wozniacki won the next two points to break Clijsters, and then held to get it back on level terms.
Clijsters had never lost any of her eight previous tiebreakers at Melbourne Park, but didn’t have it her own way until a backhand down the line gave her a 5-4 lead. She set up double match point with a crosscourt forehand winner and sealed it with a volley.
“It definitely didn’t feel like being up a set and 5-2,” Clijsters said. “I had to work really hard for it. Caroline is a great fighter. “I was happy to get through, and not in a three-setter because it’s so hot,” she said.
The crowd at Rod Laver Arena was solidly behind Clijsters from the start, shouting “C’mon Kimmie” in between nearly every point and cheering when Wozniacki missed a shot. One group of Belgian fans had painted their faces in the red, yellow and black colours of the flag. They stood and chanted for Clijsters when she broke Wozniacki to win the first set.
Keywords: Australian Open