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Clijsters hurts hip; Hantuchova, Kanepi reach Brisbane final

Brisbane, Australia (Sports Network) - Former Australian Open champ Kim Clijsters was forced to retire in the second set of her semifinal match against Daniela Hantuchova at the Brisbane International.

Clijsters won the opening set in a tiebreak and was trailing early in the second set when she called it quits after receiving treatment on her left hip.

"I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn't move forward with my upper body," Clijsters said. "So it was the smartest choice to try and not let it get any worse, to be ready for Melbourne."

"If everything comes out OK tomorrow, it should take a little under a week to get completely healed. That's what I'm obviously hoping for and aiming for," Clijsters added.

It was another fortuitous turn for Hantuchova, who reached the semifinals with a walkover quarterfinal win after Serena Williams pulled out of the tournament Wednesday due to an ankle injury.

Friday's 6-7 (4-7), 3-1 triumph will put Hantuchova into the final against Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-0 rout of former French Open champ Francesca Schiavone of Italy.

Clijsters, who had been 9-0 lifetime against Hantuchova and won the Brisbane title two years ago, battled through an injury-filled 2011 campaign. She won last year's Australian Open for her fourth career Grand Slam title, then played just six more WTA events the rest of the year.

A shoulder injury limited the Belgian star in the spring before an ankle problem kept her out of Wimbledon. An abdominal issue also caused her to skip the U.S. Open.

Hantuchova will now play in her 13th career final. The 28-year-old Slovakian is 4-8 all-time in title matches, including a mark of 1-1 last year. She won in Pattaya City and lost in Birmingham.

Kanepi, meanwhile, is 1-3 in WTA finals. She lost in Moscow last year and her only title came in 2010 at Palermo.

It's been a strong week for the 26-year-old Kanepi, who previously knocked off seventh-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round and took out second-seeded Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals before Friday's 55-minute thrashing of the third-seeded Schiavone.

Hantuchova has won all three lifetime meetings against Kanepi, but the two haven't met since the 2010 season in New Haven.

The winner of this season-opening event will collect $110,000.

01/06 10:20:29 ET

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