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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 05:37 GMT
Clijsters sets up Belgian final
Kim Clijsters
Kim Clijsters will face Justine Henin-Hardenne in the Australian Open final after beating Patty Schnyder.

The second seed came through her semi-final 6-2 7-6 to set up the all-Belgian clash.

Clijsters had been a major doubt with an ankle injury ahead of the semi-final, only confirming she would play after passing a late fitness test.

The Belgian looked to be struggling again as Schnyder fought back in the second set, but she held on.

"It's not going to get any better than it's been, so I will have to sit down and think about what's going to happen after the Australian Open and see what the doctors are saying," said Clijsters.

"But I can't make it any worse than it is so that's probably a good thing as well.

"I just have to make sure that I don't think about it too much and just focus on the ball."

Clijsters now faces compatriot Henin-Hardenne in the final.

"It's incredible for a country as small as Belgium," Clijsters said.

The 20-year-old has become a crowd favourite in Melbourne and said playing in the final would be the highlight of her career.

"I've come to so many Davis Cup matches here, and now to be on court, and have the support of the crowd, it's very special," she said.

"I've made the final at the French and US Open, but coming here means a lot more to me."

Clijsters started aggressively but it was a Schnyder double fault in game six that handed her the opening break.

The Belgian raced through the opening set and broke in the fourth game of the second, before four straight games from the Swiss suggested Clijsters' ankle might be troubling her.

However, as in her semi-final against Anastasia Myskina, Clijsters weathered the storm and came back with three straight games of her own to force the tie-break.

An early double fault from Schnyder set the tone and Clijsters came through 7-2 to seal the win.

Clijsters will be facing Henin-Hardenne in a Grand Slam final for the third time, having lost in the French and US Open finals last year.

Links to more Australian Open 2004 stories


Finalist Kim Clijsters
"I won't make the injury worse by playing"

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