Clijsters sets up final with Zvonareva

Clijsters sets up final with Zvonareva

Defending champion Kim Clijsters will face Vera Zvonareva in today's US Open final after coming from behind to beat Venus Williams in their semi-final.

Clijsters recovered from losing the opening set to win 4-6 7-6 (7/2) 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium to extend her winning streak at Flushing Meadows to 20 matches.

The second seed won the title in 2005 and then returned to action in 2009 to regain the crown in only her third tournament and 14th match since coming out of retirement.

Looking towards Zvonareva, Clijsters said: "She's very tough opponent. I've lost my last two matches against her, so it's gonna be a tough battle.

"She's a player who doesn't give you much. She's always there, hangs in there. It's not that she has a game that's very unpredictable, but what she does she does extremely well."

Williams, who had not played since Wimbledon with a knee injury before arriving in New York, served superbly in the opening set, dropping just five points and breaking Clijsters in the seventh game.

But the American was unable to maintain that standard in the second set, twice losing serve to fall 3-0 and 5-2 behind, only for Clijsters to fail to serve out for the set at 5-3.

However, Williams' serve then completely went to pieces in the resulting tie-break, the 30-year-old serving two double faults to fall 3-0 behind and failing to win a single point behind her serve.

Clijsters took the tie-break 7-2 to carry the momentum into the decider and it was no surprise when she broke Williams again in the third game as the crowd favourite netted a simple backhand.

The tension was palpable and Clijsters produced back-to-back double faults of her own and a woeful drive-volley to gift Williams the break back, only to break again in the next game courtesy of a sublime backhand lob which landed just inside the baseline.

That gave the 27-year-old the chance to serve for the match and she held her nerve to set up a showdown with Zvonareva.

Williams refused to blame her lack of preparation on the outcome, adding: "Obviously I didn't have as much time to train as many of the others. I started out really slow, just an hour a day. But I had a good 10 days of practice before this event. I just wish I could have played the bigger points a little better."

Zvonareva had earlier dominated the day's first semi-final to beat top seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3.

The seventh seed, who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final earlier this year, said: "It was a great experience for me at Wimbledon but I think it's in the past, I'm trying to look forward at the moment and am just enjoying this day, my win today. I will think about the match later."

Wozniacki had not dropped a set in reaching the semi-finals and had only lost 17 games in total, but the 20-year-old was not at her best throughout the contest.

"She played a really good game," Wozniacki said. "She was not missing a lot. She was going for her shots, most things were going in. I had chances and I made some mistakes today that I usually don't do."

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