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WORLD SPORT

Clijsters, Mauresmo clash in final

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Mauresmo was rarely troubled in reaching her third straight final

ANTWERP, Belgium -- World number one Kim Clijsters will face Amelie Mauresmo in the final of the Proximus Diamond Games after a crushing 5-7 6-1 6-2 semifinal defeat of fifth seed Elena Dementieva.

Defending champion Mauresmo booked her spot earlier on Saturday with a 6-4 7-5 victory over fourth seed Nadia Petrova.

Sunday's clash of the U.S. and Australian Open champions will be the first meeting of the two since Clijsters was forced to retire with a foot injury during their Australian Open semifinal last month.

"Kim in the final is of course great for the crowd, but will be extra hard for me. I am expecting a very tough game. Kim is a very dangerous player," said Mauresmo.

Clijsters, the top seed, was forced to fight from behind by Dementieva.

The Russian took an opening set that could have gone either way with both players unconvincing in their service games which led to a series of breaks before Dementieva broke the deadlock in the 11th game to take the set.

But Clijsters put in her best performance of the week so far to race into a 3-0 lead before eventually sewing up the second set and dropping just one game on the way.

The 22-year-old Belgian started the third set from where she left off in the second, soaring to a 4-0 advantage. The Russian hit back, but the Clijsters proved too strong in the end.

Sunday's final will be Mauresmo's third in succession, after wins in Melbourne last month and Paris last week.

The French world number two, unbeaten in 14 matches, was more comfortable in her win over Petrova, taking the first set with a break in the ninth game.

Petrova led 5-3 in the next but the second seed fought back, taking the next four games to advance to the final.

"I hope there is still more to come. I didn't feel too good in the first two rounds, but today was much better," Mauresmo said.

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