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Schnyder loses to Clijsters in Melbourne

Patty Schnyder feels the heat during her 2-6, 6-7 loss to Kim Clijsters of Belgium Keystone

Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder has been beaten 2-6, 6-7 by the Belgian, Kim Clijsters, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Schnyder put in a strong performance in Melbourne, achieving her best ever result in a grand slam tennis tournament.

Clijsters, who was struggling with an ankle injury, raced through the opening set and broke in the fourth game of the second.

Schnyder fought back winning four games on the trot but Clijsters absorbed the pressure and came back with three straight games of her own to force the tie-break.

After an early double fault from Schnyder, Clijsters came through 7-2 to take the match.

Clijsters will face her compatriot Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final.

Rising star

The 25-year-old Schnyder, who hails from Basel, was considered one of tennis’s rising stars when she broke though in the mid-1990s but has failed to fulfil her potential.

She had leapt to eighth place in the world rankings by 1999 but her progress stalled when she took on a controversial new coach, Rainer Harnecker.

In 2002, she won a tournament in Zurich against the American, Lindsay Davenport, but last year she lost in the early rounds in Paris, Indian Wells, Sarasota and Charleston.

Her record at Wimbledon is poor and it remains the only major tennis tournament where she has never got past the third round.

Thanks to her performances in Melbourne, she has risen from 22 to 15 in the world rankings.

Her improved rankings may also have something to do with domestic happiness.

Schnyder got married a month ago to the former private detective, Rainer Hofmann.

“My husband and I are very happy,” said Schnyder before the semi-final.

Number one

It has been a good week for Swiss tennis.

Roger Federer is also through to the semi-final in Melbourne and takes on Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero on Friday knowing victory will make him world number one.

Second seed Federer will take over at the top for the first time if he sees off Ferrero, who also needs to win the title to reclaim the number one ranking he held for eight weeks last year.

Wimbledon champion Federer shares a 3-3 career record against the Spaniard.

swissinfo with agencies

Patty Schnyder has lost 2-6, 6-7 in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
She was beaten by the Belgian, Kim Clijsters, who will now play her compatriot, Justine Henin-Hardenne.
Schnyder, who has risen to 15 in the world rankings, finally appears to be fulfilling her potential.
She was eighth in 1999 but her performances deteriorated after hiring a new coach.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR