Kim Clijsters breezes into the Aussie Open final.

Kim Clijsters produced a masterclass to see off Vera Zvonareva and advance into the Australian Open final. The Belgian was too strong for Zvonareva, winning 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 13 minutes to repeat her victory from last year’s US Open final and set up a mouthwatering title clash against Li Na on Saturday. Clijsters was broken in her opening service game but from there on in it was plain sailing as she moved Zvonareva all over Rod Laver Arena while also venturing regularly to the net where she displayed a lovely touch. She broke back straight away and then again for a 5-3 lead before serving it out. Clijsters threatened in the Russian’s first service game of the second set, two break points coming and going as Zvonareva rallied, but the world number two could not keep her at bay for long and the third seed made the breakthrough by establishing a 2-1 lead. Zvonareva rarely looked like she would get back into it and it was no surprise when Clijsters clinched the match with another break to move into her second final in Melbourne. “I tried really hard on every point and I knew I had to because Vera is a tough player,” she said. “I knew I had to be on top of my game and lift my level from the other matches I have played here so far. “I tried to rise to the occasion, I have been on tour a long time, played a lot of matches, not always won them but even if you lose you learn from them. “I tried to dictate the points and move around well, make my opponent play one extra shot. “Even if you are not playing your best you have to fight to be the last one standing.”

Clijsters returns to the final in Melbourne after a seven-year absence. She lost the 2004 title decider to compatriot Justine Henin. She will face China’s Li – the player who handed Clijsters her only defeat of the year so far, in the Sydney final earlier this month. Looking ahead to that clash, Clijsters added: “She’s a good player. I think we’re very similar type of players. “I think we have a lot of things in common on the court. It’ll be an interesting one. “I don’t think she has a very big weakness on the groundstrokes. She has a good, steady serve. Maybe that’s where she’s a little better than me, the consistency with the serve. “But she has good-looking shots and no big weaknesses.”


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