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Venus, Clijsters set up semis duel

Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters will face each other in the Wimbledon semi-finals after thrilling quarter-final victories on Tuesday.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2003 21:03 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters will face each other in the Wimbledon semi-finals after thrilling quarter-final victories on Tuesday.

Fourth seed Venus, the 2000 and 2001 champion, maintained her grand slam domination over fellow American Lindsay Davenport on centre court with a 6-2 2-6 6-1 success.

Clijsters, the Belgian second seed, dropped the first set against Italian Sylvia Farina Elia, but then reeled off nine straight games en route to a 5-7 6-0 6-1 victory that gave her a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.

Less than 10 minutes of play were possible on Centre Court before the rain intervened, but that was enough time for Venus to establish an immediate service break over Davenport to lead 2-0.

Venus lost serve on the resumption but quickly regained her rhythm, her power forcing errors from Davenport as she took the first set in 29 minutes.

But Davenport broke early in the second set and dominated it after that with some searing ground strokes down both flanks.

Venus, though, proved the stronger in the decider, and when Davenport netted an easy backhand volley at 0-40, 1-4 the game was up.

Venus served out easily to complete her third successive victory over Davenport, the 1999 champion, at the All England Club.

The older of the two Williams sisters beat Davenport in the 2000 Wimbledon final and the semi-finals a year later. She also beat Davenport in the 2000 U.S. Open final in between.

"I've won a couple of slams and I'd like to add more to the collection and this is the place to do it," a delighted Venus said.

ACE CLIJSTERS

Farina, 31, had never before been further than round four at a grand slam. But the Italian produced a gutsy display to steal the first set off Clijsters, the first the Belgian had dropped in the tournament.

Farina saved three set points at 4-5, broke Clijsters to lead 6-5 and served out for the set with a crunching delivery.

But the Italian simply fell apart after that. Stung into life, Clijsters stormed through the second set in 20 minutes, whitewashing the Italian with some breathtaking baseline shots.

The third set continued in the same way as Clijsters, her hammer-like forehand wreaking havoc, went 3-0 up before a shell-shocked Farina finally stopped the rot.

It was too late, though and Clijsters, who is seeking her first grand slam title, wrapped up victory in stupendous style with three successive aces.

Venus's sister Serena, the defending champion, was next on Centre Court, with another all-American showdown against compatriot Jennifer Capriati, the eight seed and the only one of the four Americans yet to win Wimbledon.

The next scheduled match on court one was the unfinished men's fourth-round match between Frenchman Sebastian Grosjean and French Open champion and third seed Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. Grosjean led 6-2 4-6 7-6 overnight.

That match was due to be followed by the women's quarter-final between French Open champions Justine Henin-Hardenne and unseeded Russian debutante Svetlana Kuznetsova.

First Published: Jul 01, 2003 21:03 IST