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NEW YORK, NY, USA – A day after an epic semifinal win over Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters blitzed Vera Zvonareva for her third US Open, continuing her love affair with the city that never sleeps.

Clijsters, the No.2 seed, had squeaked past No.3 seed Williams on Friday night, 46 76(2) 64, and on Saturday in prime time was in her prime against No.7 seed Zvonareva, avenging defeats in their last two meetings with a 62 61 triumph, winning seven consecutive games from 2-2 in the first set and barely looking back, ending it with her 17th winner – a ferocious crosscourt forehand.

The win was Clijsters’ 21st straight at the Open, making hers the second-longest winning streak here in the Open Era, trailing only Chris Evert’s 31. There was also another streak she extended: Clijsters has now won nine straight against Top 10 players, her last loss coming to Jelena Jankovic at Toronto last year.

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Clijster hold the edge in this matchup, but Zvonareva just defeated the world’s #1 player…stay tuned.

[7] Vera Zvonareva (RUS #8) vs. [2] Kim Clijsters (BEL #3)
H2H: Clijsters leads 5-2
Hardcourt W-L (YTD/career): VZ 27-8/221-112 KC 27-3/286-59
Grand Slam F Record: VZ 0-1 KC 2-4

In the Open Era, seven players have won their first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows. Should Zvonareva make it eight on Saturday night, she’ll become the 38th woman to win a Grand Slam singles titles since 1968. The fourth Russian to reach a US Open final, the 26-year-old is playing her 31st major; to put her possible achievement in context, only three women have won Slams with more experience in the bank: Jana Novotna (45), Francesca Schiavone (39) andAmélie Mauresmo (32). The question is, can this deep-thinking perfectionist hold her nerve to play the match of her life?

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Vera First Into Final


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NEW YORK, NY, USA – Everyone was talking about the winning streak of Caroline Wozniacki, and Vera Zvonareva was even one of the victims of it; but Zvonareva wouldn’t lose to the speedy Dane twice in a row, beating her in the first semifinal of the US Open on a chilly Friday afternoon, 64 63.

Zvonareva, seeded No.7, hadn’t lost a set en route to the semifinals just like Wozniacki, and played a similar – but cleaner – game on Ashe Stadium Friday, compiling a cleaner differential of -7 winners to unforced errors (Wozniacki was -18), grabbing early breaks in both sets and barely letting up on the gas.

“I always believe I can beat anyone on the other side of the net if I play my best tennis,” Zvonareva said. “I’m happy. It was my first semifinal in the US Open and I won. Caroline played the final here last year and she’s No.2 in the world.”

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Kim Edges Venus, Vera Next

NEW YORK, NY, USA – In an electric second semifinal match on Friday, Kim Clijsters won an absolute thriller against Venus Williams, giving her a 20th straight US Open win and a shot at her third Grand Slam title, 46 76(2) 64.

Williams was the stronger of the two early on, converting on the only break point of the first set and eventually grabbing a one set lead. The No.2-seeded Clijsters reasserted herself in the second set, building a 5-2 lead; No.3 seed Williams staged her own comeback, rallying back and pushing the set to a tie-break, but it was to no avail as she double faulted two of her service points away early on and never got back on track, eventually finding herself tied at a set apiece.

Clijsters broke in the third game of the third set and consolidated until 4-2, when Williams broke back and brought it to 4-all; but at that moment Clijsters’ Open momentum may have been too strong, as she broke again and then served it out, ending on a blistering backhand winner, down the line and out of reach.

“It means a lot to be in the final and give myself a chance to defend my title from last year. It’s a great opportunity,” Clijsters said. “Beating Venus here last year and this year is a good feeling. This was one of the best matches I’ve played throughout the tournament. I was able to raise my level; that’s what I’m most pleased about, that I kind of rose to the occasion when I had to.”

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Venus Eyes Rare US Open Final

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NEW YORK, NY, USA – Forget about open fields and shock winners: the pedigree of this year’s US Open semifinal line-up is plenty fine. The top three seeds have won through for the first time since 2006, and they are joined by a classy No.7. So are we heading for a repeat of last year’s final, with Caroline Wozniacki gunning for a first Grand Slam title against Kim Clijsters? Venus Williams shooting for a third crown almost a decade after she won the second, anyone? Or will Saturday’s title bout provide Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva with another shot at Grand Slam glory? The head-to-heads of both final-four match-ups are evenly poised, but that will change on Friday.

Arthur Ashe
[1] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #2) vs. [7] Vera Zvonareva (RUS #8)
H2H: Tied at 2-2
Hardcourt W-L (YTD/career): CW 31-6/133-52 VZ 26-8/220-112
Grand Slam SF Record: CW 1-0 VZ 1-1
Arriving in New York having won three titles in four weeks, Wozniacki could have been forgiven for being weary. It might even have been considered bad planning. But, far from becoming a victim of her own success the 20-year-old looks remarkably fresh as she contemplates her 64th match of the season. Indeed, the paltry 17 games she has conceded so far marks the cleanest run since Serena Williams dropped 14 by this stage on her way to the title in 2002. Is it an omen? Crucially, the Dane is coming off one of the finest wins of her career, over Maria Sharapova. However, while she deserves to go into this match favored to win a 14th match in a row, she must expect a tougher fight from Zvonareva than the Russian mustered at Montréal last month. Two of her matches so far have been won in second set tie-breaks, which should be a source of confidence, and she will have learnt a great deal from the Wimbledon final. Evenly matched stroke for stroke, this encounter shapes up as an engrossing battle of wills.

[3] Venus Williams (USA #4) vs. [2] Kim Clijsters (BEL #3)
H2H: Tied at 6-6
Hardcourt W-L (YTD/career): VW 19-2/330-77 KC 26-3/285-59
Grand Slam SF Record: VW 14-4 KC 6-7
Can this really be Venus’s first US Open semi since 2002? Though they’ve each scored six wins in a rivalry that extends back to the quarters here in 2001 – Venus went on to record the second of her two Flushing Meadows triumphs – the sting in the tale for the 30-year-old American is that Clijsters has won their last four meetings, two of them post-comeback, and two of them right here at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Whatever. Both have had statistically great seasons, winning about 90 percent of their respective hardcourt matches; here, Venus has finished strongly after edging first set tie-breaks against Shahar Peer and Francesca Schiavone, while among the remaining four players Clijsters has spent the least time on court (5 hrs 53 mins). As luck would have it Williams hasn’t played a Top 5 player in 2010 before today, and the Miami final against Williams was Clijsters’s sole Top 5 encounter. They’ll both know what they are up against today, and they’ll throw everything they’ve got at each other.

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And Then There Were Four
The tournament began with the feel of a magical mystery tour, but turns out the semifinal line-up of the 2010 US Open holds no real surprises. The top three seeds have all reached their appointed slots, together with the No.7 seed, and so a repeat of last year’s final between Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki is still a possibility. But their opponents on Friday, Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva, will do everything in their power to prevent it. Game on!


Serena Williams withdraws from 2010 US Open

Friday, August 20, 2010

Top-ranked Serena Williams has officially withdrawn from the 2010 US Open as she continues to recover from a cut to her right foot.

Williams cut her foot on a piece of broken glass in July, which required surgery, and has not competed on the WTA Tour since winning her 13th career Grand Slam tournament title at Wimbledon. She is a three-time US Open champion.

“It is with much frustration and deep sadness that I am having to pull out of the US Open,” Williams said in a statement released by her publicist. “My doctors have advised against my playing so that my foot can heal.”

She called missing the tournament “one of the most devastating moments of my career.”

US Open Tournament Director Jim Curley released the following statement regarding Williams’ withdrawal:

“We regret that Serena Williams is unable to play the US Open and wish her a speedy recovery. She will be missed, but the tournament is about the competition and the players on the court. This year’s US Open will be a memorable event, as it has been every year.”

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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