Uh-oh! Two faves - but Venus is ultimate fave.
"LET'S GO VENUS & KIM" "LET IT ALL HANG OUT ON THE COURT" "GIVE US A GREAT MATCH - YO"
Venus, Clijsters reach semifinals
Williams delivers 11 aces in advancing past Seles
By BETH HARRIS
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Kim Clijsters showed no mercy against her childhood friend from Belgium, defeating Justine Henin, 6-2, 6-1.
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Venus Williams saved 10 of 13 break points in her win over Monica Seles.
LOS ANGELES - Second-seeded Venus Williams saved 10 of 13 break points and beat No. 6 Monica Seles, 7-5, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the WTA Championships on Friday night.
Williams will play No. 5 Kim Clijsters on Sunday in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament that determines the WTA Tour's final rankings.
Clijsters beat No. 4 Justine Henin, 6-2, 6-1, in an all-Belgian quarterfinal.
Seles was clearly the favorite of the crowd at Staples Center, where she saved seven match points in beating Lindsay Davenport in the first round.
"I was very happy to be able to stay with her," Williams said.
"I have a lot of respect for her. She was my favorite player growing up. That's why I started grunting; I wanted to be like Monica."
Seles successfully neutralized Williams' firepower, cracking winners off serves that reached 113 mph.
Even when she didn't hit outright winners, Seles got the ball in play and Williams helped by making 38 unforced errors.
Williams had 11 aces and hit 44 winners to Seles' 21.
Seles blew a 4-1 lead in the first set, then had four break points to go up, 5-3, but Williams hit a forehand winner and a 114-mph serve to hold at 4-4.
Williams later broke Seles at love for a 6-5 lead before hitting a backhand winner off her 115-mph serve to win the set.
They traded service breaks early in the second set before Seles led, 3-2. Williams survived nine deuces on her serve and tied the set at 3-3 when Seles netted a backhand.
Williams broke Seles in two of the next three games for a 5-4 lead.
Williams fired a 116-mph ace to set up her first match point.
She won it on her second when Seles netted a forehand.
Williams extended her dominance of Seles, having won nine of their 10 career meetings, including the last three.
Henin offered little resistance against her childhood friend.
Clijsters owns a 5-2 record in their rivalry with three of her wins coming this year.
"Maybe that's the worst I've ever played against her," said Henin, a friend of Clijsters' since they were youngsters who traveled and roomed together at junior tournaments.
"Those matches are never easy," Clijsters said. "There's always a bit of tension because I know her so well. But that's tennis.
"We can't choose how the draw was made."
Henin committed 33 unforced errors in front of a sparse afternoon crowd at Staples Center, where a leak in the 20,000-seat arena's roof caused rain to drop on a third-row seat that wasn't occupied.
"I was really tired. I was sweating a lot and that's not normal for me," Henin said.
"It's the end of the season. Everybody is tired.
"When you're in the top 16, it means you've played a lot of matches."
Henin, 20, plans to wed Pierre-Yves Hardenne next Saturday in Belgium.
But she said she was focused on the tennis ball and not wedding bells.
"I completely forgot that I'm getting married next week," she said.
"That's not the reason."
Clijsters is on the guest list, although she'll be attending alone since boyfriend and men's No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt will be in Shanghai for the ATP Tour's season-ending championships, which begin on Tuesday.
What would it mean if Clijsters and Hewitt each won their tour's respective championship?
"It would be nicer if it was in the same facility," she said. "You would notice it a little more but now he's so far away."
After a season stuffed with 67 tournaments in 33 countries, many of the 16 players at the championships have complained of being tired and are eager for the tennis year to end.
Not the 19-year-old Clijsters.
"It's your last few matches so I'm really motivated to try to finish the year on a positive note," she said.
"I feel fine. Maybe some of the other players are really looking forward to going home.
"I know next week I'll have a few days off."
Clijsters hit deep ground strokes and played angles that forced Henin off the court.
She won 71 percent of her trips to the net and held a 15-5 edge in winners.