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Clijsters injured in Brisbane semi-final
By Jim Morton
23:48 AEST Fri Jan 6 2012

Kim Clijsters doesn't believe her Australian Open defence has been derailed by a hip injury which forced her out of Friday night's Brisbane International semi-final.

Clijsters suffered the injury scare when leading 7-6 1-3 against Daniela Hantuchova on Pat Rafter Arena and retired after briefly returning to the court following a medical timeout.

The world No.13, playing her first tournament in five months, said the hip problem got worse with each point and she called it quits to ensure she would be in no doubt for the Australian Open, which starts Sunday week.

"I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn't move forward with my upper body," she said, admitting it felt stiff before the match.

"The smartest choice was not to let it get any worse and try to be right for Melbourne."

Clijsters will undergo scans on Saturday but she believed her preventative action would ensure she'd be fit at Melbourne Park.

The four-times grand slam winner suffered the same injury in August 2010 in Toronto.

"With this one I kind of have an okay feeling," she said. "If everything comes out okay tomorrow it should take a little (less than) a week to get completely healed."

Hantuchova will play world No.34 Kaia Kanepi in the final after the Estonian upset an off-colour Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-0 in the late semi-final.

Despite being the favourite, third seed Schiavone was blown off the court in 56 minutes as Kanepi set up what would have been seen as the most unlikely of finals at the start of the tournament.

Clijsters' injury continues a wretched run for the female drawcards in Brisbane after Serena Williams withdrew due to an ankle injury sustained in the second round and top seed Sam Stosur was upset in her second match in front of her home fans.

In her WTA return from an abdominal injury, the Belgian had looked well set to continue her Brisbane love affair with a vigorous 63-minute first set.

It was only when she started stretching her left side after the change-over that there appeared to be a problem and she was immediately broken at the start of the second set.

World No.24 Hantuchova shared the feelings of the disappointed Brisbane fans hoping Clijsters would be in shape for the Open.

"What she has done for the women's game has been amazing and I hope she is going to be okay for Melbourne," she said.

Hantuchova, who also progressed to the semi-final due to Williams' withdrawal, will have her work cut out against Kanepi despite a 3-0 career advantage.

The Estonian lost only four points on serve against world No.11 Schiavone, who received treatment for a stomach upset, to book her second straight WTA premier event final after also beating the Italian on her way to the Moscow decider late last year.

"It's an amazing feeling - playing well and to go this far in the tournament" she said.

"In previous years I've been a surprise player who can beat higher ranked (opponents) and lose to lower ones.

"But now I'm more stable."


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