Clijsters suffers injury, Murray beats Baghdatis at Brisbane International

Clijsters suffers injury, Murray beats Baghdatis at Brisbane International

BRISBANE - Reuters
Clijsters suffers injury, Murray beats Baghdatis at Brisbane International

Kim Clijsters is the second favorite women’s player to withdraw from the Brisbane International tennis tournament following US star Serena Williams’ injury. AFP photo

Kim Clijsters suffered an injury scare ahead of her Australian Open defense when she was forced to retire from her Brisbane International semi-final against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova on Jan 6.

Clijsters had fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to win a tiebreak but took an injury timeout after the third game of the second set, which Hantuchova was leading 2-1, for treatment on an apparent hip injury. The 28-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion returned but lost the next game and then retired.

Hantuchova, who received a walkover into the semi-finals after Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament with an ankle injury, will meet either Francesca Schiavone or Kaia Kanepi in the final on Saturday.

In the men’s draw, top seed Andy Murray looked far sharper than in his earlier matches and romped into the semifinals with a 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Marcos Baghdatis.

The world number four, bidding to break his grand-slam drought at the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month, had been less than convincing in his two previous matches but was ruthless against the Greek Cypriot.

The 24-year-old Briton broke the former Australian Open finalist’s serve four times and served out in 66 minutes.

“I felt solid on the ball and because I was moving better he didn’t hit too many winners,” said Murray, who played doubles with Baghdatis in Brisbane.

The Scot was pleased with his movement around the court.

“It’s a huge part of my game and when that goes well then normally the rest of my game improves a lot.

“I can dictate more of the point, I can make it harder for my opponents to get the ball through me. That’s what I did from the start.”

Murray will now meet Bernard Tomic after the Australian teenager beat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-3 7-6. Saturday’s semifinal will be the first for Tomic at an ATP Tour-level tournament though Murray said he would not be taking the 19-year-old lightly.

“He’s very unorthodox, very different to a lot of the guys on the tour nowadays,” Murray said of last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinalist. “He’s quite unpredictable. He can play a couple of games where he doesn’t do much then he can play three or four great games so you have to be on the ball against him mentally.”