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Team WTAworld, Administrator, aka Nibbler
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PERTH, Australia (AP) -- Kim Clijsters believes that Belgium has a chance to reach the Hopman Cup team finals as long as she doesn't play again like she did Tuesday.

Clijsters, the tournament's highest-ranked female, was sluggish and careless in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Italy's Francesca Schiavone. But Belgium's Xavier Malisse beat Davide Sanguinetti 6-4, 7-5, and Clijsters and Malisse defeated Schiavone and Sanguinetti 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding mixed doubles to give Belgium a 2-1 win.

Clijsters made 50 unforced errors, while Schiavone played the match of her career. It wasn't until match point that Clijsters, the 19-year-old girlfriend of Australian Lleyton Hewitt, began to find a spark.

She saved seven match points against Schiavone until a one-handed backhand down the line from Schiavone gave Italy the win.

``I was rallying all right; I just couldn't finish off the points,'' Clijsters said. ``I had so many chances to finish off the points and just made some easy mistakes.''

Belgium, playing in the same group as the top-seeded United States, plays the Americans -- Jan Michael Gambill and Monica Seles -- in the final round-robin match on Friday.

Clijsters said the mixed doubles make predicting winners difficult because the best singles players don't necessarily make the best doubles players.

``I think we match up pretty well,'' Clijsters said. ``Xavier is really handy, he serves well and has good returns and I think we should go all right together.''

Spain, 1-0 in the tournament, played Switzerland (0-1) in a later match Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Australia (1-0) plays Argentina (0-1), while the United States, which won its opening match Tuesday, plays Italy.
 
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