Clijsters' U.S. Open cloudy after hip injury

Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:26pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MONTREAL (Reuters) - An injured Kim Clijsters hobbled to a 2-6 6-3 6-2 quarter-final loss to Vera Zvonareva at the Montreal Cup on Friday, casting doubt on the Belgian's ability to defend her U.S. Open crown.

As Clijsters was being questioned later about her fitness, world number two Caroline Wozniacki - the player the Belgian beat last year to win the U.S. Open - was sending a message of her own by blasting her way into the semi-finals with a 6-3 6-2 win over French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

The Dane had extra reason to smile after learning that she will likely be seeded number one at the U.S. Open after Serena Williams announced she would sit out the year's final grand slam while recovering from foot surgery.

"It's something special to be the first seed at a grand slam," Wozniacki told reporters. "But it doesn't really matter for me if I am first seed or second seed.

"It's just a number when you're on the court. I just want to beat every single one of the girls that are in my way, that will be my goal."

Wozniacki will next face in-form Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who booked her semi-final spot with a ruthless 6-1 6-3 win over China's Zheng Jie.

The first Russian woman to win the U.S. Open, Kuznetsova is also hitting her stride on the North American hardcourts, claiming her 13th career title in San Diego two weeks ago.

The other semi-final will pit Wimbledon finalist Zvonareva against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who moved on with a 6-2 7-6 win over Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.   Continued...

<p>Kim Clijsters of Belgium walks off the court after her quarter-final loss to Vera Zvonareva of Russia at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal, August 20, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>