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Mauresmo, Clijsters Reach Diamond Finale

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AP
Amelie Mauresmo moved within one victory of winning a $1.3 million diamond-studded racket trophy on Saturday, beating Anna Chakvetadze 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the final of the Diamond Games tournament.

Top-seeded Mauresmo will face home favorite Kim Clijsters, who defeated French teenager Tatiana Golovin 6-4, 6-3. The second-seeded Clijsters has said she will retire after this season.

"Tomorrow it will be my last match here (in Belgium). So it will be very special," said Clijsters, the fourth-ranked player in the world who struggled with her serve before winning in straight sets.

For Mauresmo, ranked No. 3 and the two-time defending champion here, it will be her first final of the season. If she wins on Sunday, she'll claim the racket trophy which goes to the first player to win the tournament three times in any five-year span.

Mauresmo won the first set in half an hour before Chakvetadze, who lost to Mauresmo in Paris last week, forced herself back into the match.

"I couldn't find my rhythm," said Mauresmo. "I will have to improve tomorrow."

The seventh-seeded Chakvetadze, 19, showed her inexperience in the deciding set, losing her first service match on a double fault. Mauresmo raced to a 4-0 lead, before winning 6-2.

"I found my concentration again," Mauresmo said.

The third-ranked player was troubled by a leg injury earlier this year and her agility in the backcourt suffered. Mauresmo was eliminated in the fourth round at the Australian Open and made it to the semifinals of the Gaz de France Open in Paris last week.

But after struggling in her first match in Antwerp, Mauresmo has recaptured her blend of power and speed that she showed in 2006.

Clijsters also had problems, missing two weeks because of hip problems and flu before this tournament.

Her serve was rusty from the first ball, and Clijsters needed her strong ground strokes to undo three double faults and turn her opening game into a winning start.

Clijsters double faulted to give Golovin the first break. Golovin went on to lead 4-3 but started making unforced errors to let Clijsters back into the set, which the Belgian won in 39 minutes.

"I kept on battling to find my aggressive play. I was lucky to win the first (set)," Clijsters said.

Golovin immediately lost her serve in the second set. However, Clijsters also wobbled, losing her own serve again with her eighth double fault. In the end, the Belgian made the fewest errors to reach the final.

"Now, I don't even want to think about tomorrow," Clijsters said.