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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Clijsters makes Eastbourne final
Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters reached the final of the Hastings Direct International with a battling 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday.

The Belgian swiftly took control of the first set but her second-seeded former doubles partner hit back with some impressive serving in the second.

However, Clijsters' class told in the third and the Russian had no answer.

In the final she will play qualifier Vera Douchevina, who beat Roberta Vinci of Italy 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Russian Douchevina is ranked 54 in the world and beat Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon junior final in 2002.

"Vinci played very well, she led 5-3 in the second set but she may have been tired," said Douchevina.

"This is my first final, it's very exciting."

Clijsters, seeded seven, was delighted to have won her tough contest against Kuznetsova with Wimbledon on the horizon.

"I had a good feeling out there today," said the Belgian.

"We've always had tough matches whenever we've played each other, and it's good to play these kind of matches before a Grand Slam, to play the top players and to battle through.

"I'm lucky today because I'm sitting here as the winner, but even if I had lost it would still have been a good experience to take with me to Wimbledon."

Highlights: Clijsters through to final

Clijsters through in Eastbourne
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