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Cream of Belgium stand in way of Williams

Kim Clijsters' exploded into brilliance and made her maiden semi-final entry at Wimbledon, even though there was a slight twist to the script on Tuesday.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2003 01:11 IST
S. Kannan
S. Kannan

Kim Clijsters' success story continued, even though there was a slight twist to the script on Tuesday.

Not having dropped a set till now, Clijsters was initially flummoxed by experienced Silvia Farina Elia before the second seeded Belgian exploded into brilliance and made her maiden semi-final entry at The Championships.

With rain once again resulting in delays, it was not easy for the players to find their rhythm straightaway. Clijsters has had an amazing run this year on the Tour with four titles to show. That consistency has been seen at the Grand Slam events as well: Semi-finalist at Melbourne, runner-up in Paris and now the last four stage here by virtue of her 5-7, 6-0, 6-1 win against Elia.

Clijsters just did not know what was happening in the first set. Her Italian opponent could well be called a veteran, making her 12th straight appearance on the famous lawns of SW 19. And sure enough, Elia was on top, as her fluent forehand mixed with the backhand slice had Clijsters guessing. More than Elia's winners, what bothered Clijsters' was her own erratic play.

The 19-year-old never found rhythm and was broken twice in the first set. The second break in the 11th game was decisive and came in queer circumstances when Clijsters attempted a drop shot from the back court and netted it.

Perhaps, this was a shot Clijsters would not attempt even at practice. The sole reason why she had to try that out on Tuesday must have been her inability to strike winners, which is what Clijsters' game is all about.

But the second set saw a quick change in the pattern of play. Second seed Clijsters knew this was not what she had stepped out on court for. She erased memories of the first set in no time and played to her strengths.

"It wasn't easy with the rain delay. But once I settled down, it wasn't so bad," said Clijsters after the match.

Venus had to produce her best against old foe Lindsay Davenport to win 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams battled her way past Jennifer Capriati 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Justin Henin-Hardenne had the easiest time of the lot, beating Svetlana Kuznetskova 6-2, 6-2.

Movement on grass has always been a problem for Davenport. As long as she gets the ball on the rise, she can whack into the deep pockets.

But when Davenport has to run back, it becomes very difficult for the 6 feet 2 inches tall woman to maintain her balance.

Meanwhile, Sebastien Grosjean upset French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 4-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the unfinished fourth round match.

First Published: Jul 02, 2003 00:48 IST