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Saturday, 9 November, 2002, 05:18 GMT
Venus edges out Seles
Venus Williams
Venus committed a clutch of unforced errors

Second seed Venus Williams struggled past a determined Monica Seles 7-5 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA Tour Championships.

The world number two was 1-4 down in the first set before staging a dogged recovery, and the second set was equally close-fought.

"I was very happy to be able to stay with her," Williams said.

"I have a lot of respect for her. She was my favourite player growing up."

Seles successfully neutralised Williams' firepower while the second seed did not help her cause by committing 38 unforced errors.

After blowing a 4-1 lead, Seles then had four break points to go up 5-3, but Williams survived and later broke to love for a 6-5 lead.

In the second set, Williams survived nine deuces on her serve at 2-3 but levelled the set when Seles netted a backhand.

Williams finally broke for a 5-4 lead and won the match on her second match point when Seles netted a forehand.

Kim Clijsters
Clijsters secured her fifth win over Henin

Venus moved a step closer to a possible showdown with younger sister Serena, who has beaten her in three Grand Slam finals this year.

But first she must get past Kim Clijsters, who registered a surprisingly one-sided 6-2 6-1 victory over fellow Belgian Justine Henin in the quarter-finals earlier on Friday.

The match marked the seventh meeting between the Belgian rivals and produced the most lopsided result, Clijsters needing just 59 minutes to brush past Henin and collect her fifth win.

"Those matches are never easy," Clijsters said.

"There's always a bit of tension because I know her so well. But that's tennis. We can't choose how the draw was made."

Henin committed 33 unforced errors in front of a sparse afternoon crowd at Staples Center.

Clijsters took control of the match when Henin doubled faulted to hand her compatriot a break and 2-1 lead.

Henin held her serve only twice more in the entire match, Clijsters sweeping through five straight games to take the opening set and a 2-0 lead in the second.


Results from the Home Depot Championships in Los Angeles:

(2) V Williams (US) bt (6) M Seles (US) 7-5 6-4
(5) K Clijsters (Bel) bt (4) J Henin (Bel) 6-2 6-1

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