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Wozniacki exits, loses No 1 ranking

sports Updated: Jan 24, 2012 23:22 IST

Champion Kim Clijsters again showed her mental toughness as she ended Caroline Wozniacki’s Australian Open title hopes and her hold on the world’s top ranking on Tuesday.

Clijsters, who badly twisted her ankle in the fourth round against China’s Li Na before she fought back from a set down and saved four match points, ignored any pain she may be feeling on Tuesday to beat the 21-year-old Wozniacki 6-3 7-6. She will take on third seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the semi-finals.

The 28-year-old Belgian opted against getting the ankle scanned after the Li match, preferring to rely on treatment, painkillers and accepting the consequences of her decision.

“No, I refused,” Clijsters said when asked if she had the ankle scanned. “I said ‘no more. Whatever it is, it is. I’m going to try to make the best out of it and then we’ll see when I get home how I’m feeling’.

Clijsters also did not appear to be suffering from the heat with temperatures approaching 34 degrees Celsius as she scampered around court and was able to stretch when recovering shots out wide. To her credit, Wozniacki had looked down and out at 5-2 in the second set but drew on all of her reserves to fight back and take it to a tiebreak. The comeback, however, only served to delay the inevitable as the Belgian took the decider 7-4, sealing victory on her first match point.

azarenka on song Earlier, third-seed Victoria Azarenka roared back from a set down to beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7, 6-0, 6-2.

The Wimbledon semi-finalist, who beat the Pole on the way to winning in Sydney earlier this month, looked in trouble when she lost a first set tiebreak 7-0.

However, Azarenka turned the tables in the second set, running Radwanska ragged from the baseline, before carrying the momentum into the third to seal the win. “I don’t think the crowd distract me,” Azarenkasaid, adding that the mental side of her game had come a long way.

“I’m a year older, a year wiser, I’m taking it step by step.”