Clijsters and Zvonareva through to final

Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:01pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kim Clijsters advanced to her fourth U.S. Open final after winning a titanic center court battle against Venus Williams. A third title is now within her reach.

The only person left standing in her way is Russia's Vera Zvonareva, who upset the tournament's number one seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3 on Friday to reach her first singles final in New York.

Clijsters had to work much harder to earn her place in Saturday's final but got there in the end, defeating the former world number one 4-6 7-6 6-4 after they slugged it out for almost two and a half hours.

A year ago, Clijsters provided one of the great fairytale stories of modern tennis when she returned to the game after dropping out to start a family. This year is not so much a storybook as a sequel.

"Obviously it means a lot to be in the final and to give myself a chance to defend my title from last year," she said. "It's a great opportunity."

Williams had her chance to win the match but her serve, the fastest in women's tennis, let her down when she needed it most and Clijsters seized her opportunity.

Williams captured the second of her U.S. Open titles in 2001 when she was the number one player in the world but has made the final only once since, eight years ago.

At 30, time could be running out for her to win again even though she has no thoughts of retirement.   Continued...

<p>Kim Clijsters of Belgium celebrates her victory against Venus Williams of the U.S. at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>