Clijsters, Williams to clash at U.S. Open

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

Flushing Meadows, NY - Two-time champions Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Tuesday night. The two will face off against one another on Friday.

Clijsters, the 2005 and 2009 champion, held off Australian Samantha Stosur, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to win her 19th straight match on the New York hard courts, while Williams advanced with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 victory over Italian Francesca Schiavone.

The second-seeded Clijsters trailed 3-1 in the first before battling back to level the set at four games apiece with a service break. After holding serve, the Belgian broke the fifth-seeded Stosur again to take the first set.

Trailing 2-0 in the second, the former world No. 1 Clijsters broke Stosur to level the set at two apiece and then held serve to move in front for the first time.

However, Stosur broke back to move into a 5-4 lead only to have Clijsters return the favor to even things up at five each. The 26-year-old Australian then claimed the next two games to force the third and deciding set.

Tied at one in the decisive set, Stosur and Clijsters alternated four straight service breaks to get to 3-3. Clijsters then won the next three games to move on and lift her record to 4-1 in U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Clijsters has won all four of their head-to-head meetings, including two this season.

Stosur was the first Australian woman to advance the quarterfinals here since Wendy Turnbull in 1986 and was blunted in her attempt to become the first Aussie female to reach the semis since Turnbull did so in 1984.

The third-seeded Williams, the last woman to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles when she triumphed here in 2000 and 2001, broke to move ahead 3-2 in the first set but then lost three straight games to fall behind, 5-4. The two-time U.S. Open runner-up held serve to force the tiebreak and claimed the last two points to take the first set.

The sixth-seeded Schiavone broke to get within 4-3 in the second set, only to have the American break back to move to the precipice of winning the match. However, the French Open champion answered with a break of her own to pull within 5-4 before Williams broke back again to move on after winning for a 52nd time in 53 matches in the last major of the season when taking the first set.

Schiavone, the only Italian woman to win a Grand slam title, did not drop a set in tournament before falling to Williams, who has not lost a set in her first five matches.

Williams improved to 8-0 in her career against Schiavone.

"I know when I play her, I'm going to have to play good tennis," Williams said about her numerous encounters with Schiavone. "I really do enjoy our matchups. There have been times when she's had me down, but fortunately, I was able to come back."

Williams and Clijsters have split 12 all-time matchups, but the Belgian has won the last four encounters. That includes a pair of wins at the U.S. Open and in a tournament on hardcourts this year in Miami.

The quarterfinals will continue on Wednesday, as top-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki will meet unseeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova and seventh-seeded Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva will encounter 31st-seeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi.


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