Kim Clijsters faces a tight deadline to be fit in time for her Australian Open defense after she was forced to retire injured from her Brisbane International semi-final against Daniela Hantuchova yesterday.
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, with Hantuchova leading 2-1, for treatment on a hip injury.
The 28-year-old four-time Grand-Slam champion returned, but lost the next game and then retired with the score at 6-7 (4/7), 3-1.
Hantuchova, who received a walkover into the semi-finals after Serena Williams pulled out with an ankle injury, meets Kaia Kanepi in the final today after the big-hitting Estonian demolished Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-0 in 56 minutes.
“I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn’t move forward with my upper body,” Clijsters said, adding that she had felt tightness in her hip before the semi-final.
In the men’s draw, top seed Andy Murray looked far sharper than in his earlier matches and romped into the semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of Marcos Baghdatis.
The world No. 4, who will bid to break his Grand-Slam drought at the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 16, had been less than convincing in his two previous matches, but he was ruthless against the Cypriot.
Murray broke the former Australian Open finalist’s serve four times and served out in 66 minutes.
Murray will now meet Bernard Tomic after the Australian teenager beat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
Today’s semi-final 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.