Tennis: Oh baby - Serena-Clijsters has Open final feel

11th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Kim Clijsters made an impressive comeback from a two-year layoff to start a family and Serena Williams is talking about having a baby just so she can return playing better as well.

NEW YORK - "Seems like she is even faster than what she was before," defending champion Williams said. "I was thinking that maybe I should have a baby and then I will come back faster. That was my observation so I'm thinking about it."

Williams, who says with a smile she has already picked Wilson as a baby namer, will play for her 12th career Grand Slam title in Saturday's women's final if she can get past new mom Clijsters in a Friday semi-final showdown.

"She has absolutely nothing to lose," Williams said. "I think that's when you can play your ultimate best tennis."

The other semi-final at Arthur Ashe Stadium matches two 19-year-old surprise packages who had never reached a Grand Slam final eight before, Danish ninth seed Caroline Wozniacki and 50th-ranked Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.

Either longshot figures to be an underdog in the final. Wickmayer dreams of playing her childhood idol Clijsters in the final but knows either would be the first woman outside the top 10 to win a US Open crown.

"Let's be honest - we both have a really tough match in front of us," said Wickmayer. "She has Serena in front of her which is going to be a great match. I'm really excited to see that one."

Clijsters, who played two tuneup events last month before returning to Flushing Meadows for the first time since her 2005 run to her only Grand Slam title, already has the greatest run by a wild card in US Open history.

Now Clijsters wants to become the first mother to reach a Grand Slam final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won the 1980 Wimbledon title, but to do it she will have to dethrone Williams, who seeks a fourth career US Open crown.

Having lost seven of eight meetings with Serena Williams, Clijsters knows how tough that task will be.

"She has always been able to step it up at the Grand Slams," Clijsters said.

"But that doesn't mean that you don't get chances when you get to play her. So that's something that I'm going to be really focused on. I need to play aggressive tennis and dominate, you know, try to dominate a lot of points.

"But then, still, I think the one who keeps the unforced errors down is going to get through here."

Clijsters ousted Venus Williams from the Open and when asked about not talking like a sister with a grudge for her sibling's conqueror, Serena noted, "I'm a really good actress."

Former world number ones Clijsters and Serena Williams are each on 12-match US Open win streaks since Clijsters was unable to defend her 2005 title due to injury and retired before the 2007 US Open.

The other title threat is Wozniacki, who promises not to take Wickmayer lightly even though the relentless Dane groundstroker figures to be favored.

"I don't take her for granted at all," Wozniacki said. "She has played great tennis to make it this far. I'm going to fight for every point. Hopefully I can pull it out. But you never know. It's a 50-50 chance when you get out on the court."

While they have never met in a top-level match, Wozniacki and Wickmayer are familiar foes.

"I haven't seen Yanina playing too much in this tournament but I know her really well from the juniors," Wozniacki said. "We played each other growing up."

Jim Slater/AFP/Expatica 

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