Clijsters, Li reach final

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

SYDNEY, Australia -- Two-time champion Kim Clijsters of Belgium and China's Li Na will square off in Friday's final at the Sydney International tennis event, a final Australian Open tuneup.

Clijsters, the No. 3 seed, came back to beat Russia's Alisa Kleybanova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) to set up a meeting with the eighth-seeded Li.

A winner here in 2003 and 2007, Clijsters will get a chance to play for her third Sydney title after fighting through a match that lasted 2 hours, 38 minutes on Day 5.

Li got past teenage Serbian qualifier Bojana Jovanovski in straight sets at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, posting a 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 decision in 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Clijsters is 4-1 lifetime against Li, including a 2-0 mark here in Sydney. The Belgian topped the Chinese here in the second round in 2006 and the semis in 2007.

The 27-year-old Clijsters will seek her 41st career WTA title on Friday. She piled up five championships last season, including a second straight U.S. Open and the season-ending WTA Championships.

The 28-year-old Li, a surprise Aussie Open semifinalist a year ago, will appear in her eighth career final, seeking a fourth title.

Friday's winner will collect $103,000.


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