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Stuart Dalgleish 10th Sep 2009 - 14:53

Can the dream continue for Clijsters?

What an incredible return to form it's been for Kim Clijsters.

After more than two years out of the game the Belgian ace looks like she's never been away, playing some fantastic tennis in reaching the quarters at Cincinnati, the last 16 at Toronto and now the semis here - making a mockery of some of the world's top players along the way.

Is this is a sign of Clijsters brilliance or a sign of the lack of depth in the women's game?

I think it's a bit of both really; Clijsters is a powerful player so she was always going to cause problems for people but some of the higher ranked players should still have given her more of a workout than she's been getting - even Venus Williams looked ordinary at times and she's a seven time Grand Slam champion.

I don't want to get too bogged down with the state of the women's game - that's an argument for another day, but when the number one player in the world is continually shown up in Grand Slams and more often than not is 10/1 or bigger to lift the trophy, you know something's not right.

The absence of truly great players in the women's game has certainly worked in Clijsters favour though - the 2005 US Open champion is set to be rewarded with a top 50 rankings spot after only playing three tournaments since coming back from injury.

Unfortunately for the Belgian, one of (in my opinion) two outstanding players on the WTA Tour - Serena Williams, stands in the way of what would be for her back-to-back US Open finals having not played in the event since winning it four years ago.

Serena (4/11 to win the match) has looked awesome at Flushing Meadows, dominating from the off and is yet to drop a set, in fact the American hasn't dropped a set in New York since 2007 so Clijsters (2/1) will certainly have her work cut out.

While Williams has looked impressive the only real tough opponent she's faced has been Flavia Pennetta; who herself had looked in good form until their quarter-final match, Clijsters has seen off Serena's older sister Venus and Marion Bartoli - no mean feat after two years out of the game.

I think Williams will win the match - but it won't be straightforward, if Clijsters can get at Serena early on like she did against Venus then this game has the capability to be a classic but should the American get into her stride then she'll have too much for the Belgian, expect this one to go the distance though and 2-1 to the defending champion looks good value at 13/5.

The other women's semi-final could well be a bit of a mismatch - un-seeded Yanina Wickmayer (11/4 to win the match) takes on number nine seed Caroline Wozniacki (1/4).

Wickmayer's run to the semis has been somewhat bizarre as she seems to have been the beneficiary of some poor performances from seeded players in the previous rounds.

The Belgian could've played 19th seed Patty Schnyder in the 3rd round but she was beaten by Sara Errani, then after defeating the Italian she should have faced world number one Dinara Safina but she was surprisingly beaten by Petra Kvitová.

To be fair to Wickmayer though, you can only beat what's put in front of you and that's exactly what she's done - but don't expect that to continue against Wozniacki.

The world number eight could well have been added to the list of seeded players dumped out by Melanie Oudin but the Danish ace was ruthless in her defeat of the giant-killer - losing just four games in a comprehensive win.

Nerves could well be the only hope that Wickmayer has, because while neither player has ever reached a Grand Slam semi-final all the pressure will be on the Dane as the seeded player and overwhelming favourite.

Wozniacki though had the same situation in the quarter-final, and had a partisan crowd to battle with - she came through that test with flying colours and I don't foresee any problems here, a straight-sets win for Wozniacki, while a short price, could be a steal at odds of 4/6.

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Kim Clijsters v Serena Williams - view all markets

Yanina Wickmayer v Caroline Wozniacki - view all markets

Women's US Open - outright


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