Clijsters looks forward to 'fun' of facing Hingis on farewell tour
Tuesday 23 January 2007
Twenty-three is no age at which to be making your farewells, but this will be Kim Clijsters' last Australian Open. The Belgian is retiring at the end of the season, though given her current form she might be tempted to reconsider.
A comfortable 6-1, 7-5 victory yesterday over Daniela Hantuchova earned a quarter-final against Clijsters' good friend Martina Hingis. Clijsters took the first set in 27 minutes and although Hantuchova broke serve in the second the No 4 seed was quickly back on track.
"I look forward to playing against Martina," Clijsters said. "We always have a lot of fun points. She always comes up with some unbelievable shots that you don't expect."
Hingis, three times a champion here, had a tougher time against Li Na, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-0. The Chinese No 19 seed served exceptionally well in the first set, but 69 unforced errors proved decisive.
The other quarter-final in this half of the draw will be an all-Russian meeting between Maria Sharapova, a 7-5, 6-4 winner over Vera Zvonareva, and Anna Chakvetadze, who defeated Patty Schnyder 6-4, 6-1.
In the men's singles, Fernando Gonzalez defeated James Blake, the No 5 seed. The Chilean won 7-5, 6-4, 7-6. Gonzalez served superbly, hitting 18 aces, in a battle between two of the biggest forehands in the game.
Gonzalez now meets Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray's conqueror. The winner of that match will play either Nikolai Davydenko or Tommy Haas.
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