Kim Clijsters reaches semis at Brisbane International

Brisbane: Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters advanced to the semifinals of the Brisbane International with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova on Thursday.

Clijsters won the Brisbane title in 2010 and, after missing the 2011 edition, now has an 8-0 record in the Australian Open tuneup.

She raced to a 5-0 lead before Benesova, who ousted U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur in the second round, launched a comeback with a run of three straight games.

Benesova held her opening serve and had an early break-point chance in the second set before Clijsters shifted up a gear and dominated the remainder of the match to earn a semifinal meeting against Daniela Hantuchova, who got a walkover in the quarterfinals when 13-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday after injuring her left ankle.

Clijsters had a tough three-set win over Ana Ivanovic in the second round but didn`t let Benesova get too close in the quarterfinals.

"I`m very satisfied with the way that I played," Clijsters said. "In my previous match I lost my focus a bit. I was really focussed on not letting that happen today."

Third-seeded Francesca Schiavone will meet Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in the other women`s semifinal.

Schiavone saved two match points before coming back for a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

The 2010 French Open winner saved match points on her serve in the 12th game of the second set and then, after winning the tiebreaker and going down a break in the third set, won the last five games to clinch a quarterfinal berth in just under three hours on her third match point.

Kanepi needed five match points to finish off a 6-1, 7-6 (7) win over second-seeded Andrea Petkovic.

"I just played really bad in the first set," Petkovic said. "My footwork was very sloppy, and afterwards I started moving a little better, but when somebody is hitting as hard as Kaia — and she was serving incredible — then you really have to be on point with your footwork."

"She played really, really well and I have to say, if she keeps playing like this she`ll be a force."

In the men`s draw, second-seeded Gilles Simon of France advanced with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

Simon will next play either Alexandr Dolgopolov of Russia or former champion Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic.

Bureau Report

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