Serena settles score with Clijsters as US power into final

PERTH: World number one Serena Williams settled a score with Kim Clijsters at the Hopman Cup here yesterday as the United States beat Belgium 2-1 to reach the final. 

Williams, beaten by Clijsters in the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles in November, avenged the defeat with a battling women’s singles performance, winning 7-5, 6-3 in 67 minutes. 

The Belgians hit back to level at 1-1 when Xavier Malisse beat James Blake 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 in the second rubber at the Burswood Dome. 

Then the Americans clinched victory when they won the decisive mixed doubles 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 10-5. 

In today’s final of the US$540,000 nine-nation mixed team event, Williams and Blake will line up against Australia’s world number one Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik.  

Both countries will be attempting to win the crown for the second time. 

In yesterday’s women's singles, Williams was desperate to atone for her defeat to Clijsters in Los Angeles. In recent days, the pair had put their own slants on the result of that match. 

Williams claimed she went down because she was tired after a heavy playing schedule had left her drained. 

But Clijsters argued that she had beaten the world’s best player on merit and rejected Williams’ excuse for the loss. 

A relaxed, smiling Williams said after yesterday’s win: “I stepped it up a bit today.  

“I don’t mind who I am playing, because in the end you have to play everyone.” - AFP 

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