PERTH: Kim Clijsters’ war of words with top-ranked American Serena Williams intensified here yesterday ahead of an eagerly-anticipated clash today between the two leading players.
The pair will lock horns at Burswood Dome in a Hopman Cup tie to decide which nation will play off in the final of the mixed team event.
Williams, 21, is keen to atone for a surprise two sets defeat by Clijsters in the WTA Tour Championship in Los Angeles in November.
Williams on Wednesday blamed tiredness, caused by a heavy programme, for the loss.
But Clijsters said yesterday: “It doesn’t really worry me what she says. I thought I played a great match, and I thought I played good enough to beat her.
“It’s always easy to say afterwards that you are tired. Actually, I thought she had about four weeks off before LA.”
Clijsters said that, if she was to repeat her 7-5, 6-3 win, she would have to grab every chance.
“And if I don’t get any chances, that will mean she is too good,” she said. “Serena is so good because she can raise her level against whoever she is playing. If she is playing someone good, she can step up a few levels. If I am going to win, I have to grab absolutely every chance I can.”
Although Clijsters won when she last met Williams, the American has a 5-1 head-to-head advantage over the Belgian.
The winners of the Belgium-US meeting will face Australia or the Czech Republic in the showdown, with the winners picking up a cheque for US$240,000.
Clijsters is partnered with Xavier Malisse, while Williams is playing with James Blake. – AFP