Clijsters makes no mistake

The last time Kim Clijsters failed to make the final of a tournament was all the way back in August. On that occasion, in Montreal, the Belgian had to make do with the quarter finals. By coincidence, it was in that very same tournament that Clijsters faced Kaia Kanepi for the first time. Estonian Kanepi is unlikely to forget the encounter in a hurry; it was a match in which she was taught a real lesson by Clijsters, who won 6-2 6-1. The nightmare returned for Kanepi today as she was broken early on by Clijsters, who regained the number one ranking yesterday with a thumping 6-0 6-3 victory over Jelena Dokic.

Clijsters, winner at both the Australian and US Open, was far from flawless on her own serve and hit three double faults in the set before calmly seizing control of the match. World number 17 Kanepi had to wait a full 20 minutes to win her first service game and make the score 4-1, having missed the chance to break back at 3-0. Clijsters, the new world number one, played with much less fluidity and precision than in her previous match but she was still in a class of her own. She worked tirelessly and consistently forced Kanepi, the first Estonian to win a WTA tournament after her success in Palermo in 2010, into making several unforced errors. With less than 30 minutes on the board, Clijsters was already a set to the good (6-1).

Still struggling with her serve, Clijsters found herself 0-40 down and Kanepi made no mistake to break and lead 2-1. Kanepi then pounced on a limp shot from Clijsters to double the advantage. Armed with a stinging return, the Estonian even took the liberty of lobbing the world number one with the score at 4-1.  However, as she did against Dokic when she was 3-0 down, Clijsters bounced back strongly and strung together three near-perfect games to level at 4-4.

Kanepi was not yet down and out and last year's French Open quarter-finalist fought strongly from the baseline, broking Clijsters to lead 5-4. The combative Estonian raised her level once again but her efforts were matched by Clijsters, who quickly turned the score around to lead 6-5 with Kanepi to serve. Kanepi showed immense courage and no shortage of style to rescue two match points and force Clijsters to prove why she is top of the rankings. Clijsters did not disappoint and went on to secure her place in the final. Having won the OPEN GDF SUEZ in 2004, Clijsters remains unbeaten at the Stade Coubertin.