|Kim Clijsters of Belgium returns the ball to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic at the Sydney International tennis tournament January 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Daniel Munoz)
SYDNEY, Australia -- Two-time champion Kim Clijsters was an easy quarterfinal winner Wednesday at the Sydney International tennis event, a final Australian Open tuneup.
The third-seeded two-time reigning U.S. Open champ Clijsters leveled seventh- seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2 on the hardcourts at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
The three-time U.S. Open titlist Clijsters, who captured this Sydney event in 2003 and 2007, will face Russian Alisa Kleybanova in Thursday's semifinals. Kleybanova snuck past Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Cibulkova ousted world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki here on Tuesday.
The other semi will pit eighth-seeded Chinese Li Na versus Serbian teenager Bojana Jovanovski. Li overcame former top-five star Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, while the 19-year-old qualifier Jovanovski handled Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-1 on Day 4. Pennetta upset 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva in the second round.