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Since 1st March, 1999
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Serena beats Clijsters to final
- Albert Costa ousts Federer to make semis in rain-marred tie

Miami: Kim Clijsters was left to rue a host of wasted opportunities as Serena Williams beat her 6-4, 6-2 to coast into the Nasdaq-100 Open Miami Masters final on Thursday.

Serena, the world No. 1 and defending champion, won a disappointing semi-final in exactly 80 minutes, making 37 unforced errors herself.

Clijsters, the third seed, did the hard work for her opponent, the Belgian squandering chance after chance with a succession of misjudged shots and mustering only six winners in the match.

The defeat was Clijsters’ seventh in eight meetings with Serena, the holder of all four Grand Slams who moves through to the final of the $2.96 million tournament on Saturday against Jennifer Capriati or Chanda Rubin.

The match between Capriati and Rubin was postponed by rain on Thursday and will now be played on Friday.

“My game was just passing grade today,” Serena said. “I wasn’t too happy with the way I played. My trainer says I played okay, but I’m always really hard on myself and I don’t think I was on par.

“Kim was still playing hard and tough, and it was a tough match. I upped my game a little bit.”

Later, she said she would take a month’s break from tennis, adding that she was exhausted by the number of times she had played over the last few weeks, including back-to-back finals at Scottsdale and Indian Wells and five matches this week.

Clijsters, who has also had a punishing doubles schedule, winning in Indian Wells and reaching the quarter finals in Miami with Ai Sugiyama of Japan, said she would not play again until the Fed Cup in late April.

“I just feel tired,” she told reporters. “I didn’t play that many tournaments but I did well in all of them. As long as the results are good then you take it and everything that comes with it, but after a while you definitely need the rest. I need some time off.”

Easy for Spaniard

Spaniard Albert Costa needed just 12 minutes and 51 seconds after an overnight rain delay to see off fourth-seed Swiss Roger Federer on Friday and move into the semi-finals.

Costa, the ninth seed, won a final set tiebreak 9-7 to clinch the quarter-final 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 after the match had resumed with Federer trailing 5-6 in the third set and serving at deuce.

In the tiebreak, world No. 4 Federer missed another match point to add to the two squandered on Thursday in the 2 hours and 44 minutes of play before the thunderstorms moved in.

Costa will now play the winner of the other quarter final between Andre Agassi, the second seed seeking his record third successive title and sixth overall, and Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui.

Costa’s success also sets up the chance of an all-Spanish final on Sunday, with Carlos Moya, the world No. 5, due to face Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand in the semi-final.

“Today it was like heads or tails,” said Costa, the French Open champion who recorded his first win over Federer, last year’s Miami runner-up, in only their third meeting. Federer took the match into a final set tiebreak when he resumed serving at deuce and 5-6 down and Costa put a forehand wide before the Swiss player won the game with an ace.

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