WARSAW, May 5 (Reuters) Belgian world number two Kim Clijsters moved into the semi-finals of the Warsaw Cup today by defeating fifth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4 6-4.
Venus Williams will not be joining her in the last four, however, after losing 6-4 6-2 to resilient Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova a day after the American had beaten Martina Hingis.
Fourth seed Kuznetsova will now play Anna Chakvetadze in an all-Russian semi-final, after she beat Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-2 6-4.
Clijsters will play another Russian, third seed Elena Dementieva, in the other semi-final.
Top seed Clijsters had little difficulty in overcoming Schiavone, a player she had never dropped a set to in 10 previous meetings, but Dementieva was stretched by Polish wildcard Agnieszka Radwanska, taking more than two hours to beat the 17-year-old 5-7 6-3 6-1.
''I felt pretty good out there today,'' said Clijsters. ''I did exactly what I had to do, which was to be aggressive and try not to let her play her game, which is moving her opponent around, mixing her game up and attacking with her forehand.'' Williams and Kuznetsova, in a replay of the 2004 Warsaw final won by Williams, were evenly matched in the opening set.
After an early exchange of breaks and several more break point opportunities for both players, Kuznetsova eventually claimed the set in a lengthy 10th game that stretched to deuce seven times.
A fifth double-fault and then a backhand error from Williams gave Kuznetsova a break for 2-0 in the second set as Williams lacked the intensity she had shown earlier.
BACKHAND ERROR Although Kuznetsova failed to convert a break point at 4-1, she broke again for the match when Williams made a backhand error.
''I think the key was consistency,'' said Kuznetsova, who also reached the 2005 final before losing to Justine Henin-Hardenne.
''I didn't want to defend. I wanted to attack, but I was also focusing to put as many balls back as I could. In the first set especially it was also very important to serve well.'' Williams said she had made too many errors, but was pleased to come through her first tournament since January without any further injury worries.
''She played well. She definitely played consistently, but I feel, like yesterday, there were too many errors,'' said Williams, who will train for a week before playing in Rome.
''I had a good week and had three matches. I felt fine and felt I could get to the ball. I'm very happy to be back and feel definitely I can handle anything that comes my way.'' Dementieva was involved in a real battle with Radwanska, who had already beaten sixth seed Anastasia Myskina.
Competing in her first WTA event, Radwanska rallied strongly, moving Dementieva around the court.
She competed on equal terms with the former French and U.S.
Open runner-up in the first set, and responded well when Dementieva earned the first break of the match to lead 5-4.
Radwanska broke to level at 5-5 with a backhand winner down the line, and again for the set when Dementieva hit a crosscourt forehand wide.
But the teenager could not maintain her standard and Dementieva took advantage of a tiring opponent to move safely through.
Reuters VJ VP0110