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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Clijsters fightback foils Farina Elia
Kim Clijsters in action against Silvia Farina Elia
Clijsters made amends for her slow start
Kim Clijsters bounced back from an opening set wobble to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon.

The Belgian second seed saw off a dogged Silvia Farina Elia 5-7 6-0 6-1 to move into the last four.

Clijsters revealed that she struggled to cope with Farina Elia's tactics early on, but also that she was stung by a bee as the first set came to its conclusion.

"In the beginning her slice was keeping me on the back foot, and keeping me off balance.

"Then at 5-4 I got a bee sting right on my stomach - I didn't know if I should call a trainer, or what I should do.

"I was happy I didn't blow up out there."

Against anyone in the top 10 you have to be there from the start
Kim Clijsters looks forward to facing Venus Williams

Farina Elia, who has waited 12 years to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam, rattled the second seed right from the start.

It was some relief for Clijsters when showers interrupted the action on Court One with the match poised at 2-2 and Clijsters 30-15 down in her third service game.

But the rain delay did not put Farina Elia off her game as she quickly claimed the next three points to take the first break of the match.

The Belgian took advantage of two double faults to break back before she was stung.

Silvia Farina Elia in action against Kim Clijsters
Farina Elia faded in the second set

Farina Elia then began to dominate the match and Clijsters netted an easy backhand volley to hand her the vital first set 7-5.

The French Open finalist returned for the second set looking more like her true self breaking her opponent in the second game.

Farina Elia could not find the rhythm on her first serve and compounded her problems by making a string of unforced errors.

Clijsters produced a love service game to go 5-0 up and broke the Italian again to level the match at one set all.

There was more of the same in the third set as the Belgian displayed some stylish tennis to race into the lead.

Farina Elia's forehand folded and Clijsters served up a love service game, including three aces, to close out the match 6-1.

The Italian denied that nerves had affected her in the second and third set.

"I played very good first set," she said.

"I always believed I could win it but at the beginning of the second set I think she raised her level a little bit and I couldn't end it."

Clijsters said she was looking forward to playing in the semi-finals for the first time at Wimbledon.

"It's a good feeling to be in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, because it's a Grand Slam that means a lot to me and I really enjoy playing here," said Clijsters.

"I'm really happy with how my level has been compared to other years."

Clijsters admitted she would not be allowed to get away with such a slow start against semi-final opponent Venus Williams.

"Against anyone in the top 10 you have to be there from the start," she said.

"I will have to serve particularly well, because it's tough to break back.

"You just have to keep believing in your chances."

Links to more Wimbledon 2003 stories


Kim Clijsters
"I got better towards the end"





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