United States in sixth Hopman Cup final

Serena Williams avenged her defeat to Kim Clijsters in the season-ending WTA Championships with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Clijsters in the Hopman Cup team tennis even

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Serena Williams avenged her defeat by Kim Clijsters in the WTA Championships to lead the United States into its sixth final at the Hopman Cup team tennis tournament. The world top-ranked Williams beat Clijsters 7-5, 6-3 today to claim her sixth win in seven meetings with the Belgian. Clijsters' only victory came in the final of the WTA event in Los Angeles in November, which Williams attributed to exhaustion at the end of the season. Although Wimbledon semifinalist Xavier Malisse then leveled the match by beating James Blake 7-6 (6), 6-2, the United States clinched victory by taking the mixed doubles in a super tiebreaker 7-6 (6), 3-6, 10-5. Williams was rarely under pressure from Clijsters. Her aggressive start allowed her to move into a 3-0 lead as Clijsters struggled to get into the match. After serving out for the first set, a Clijsters error gave Williams a break for 1-0 in the second. A double-fault from Clijsters then gave Williams another break for 3-0, and although Williams again failed to serve out the set and the match at 5-2 she broke Clijsters a seventh time to claim a 68-minute victory. Blake struggled in both matches, and was relieved that Williams could lift him in the crucial doubles decider. "She held me up," said Blake. "She was playing great and told me to keep my head up. I have a little problem with hanging my head sometimes, and she did a great job of keeping my spirits up and even got me to smile quite a bit on the court." (AP)