Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters became the second top contender for the year’s first major to suffer an injury setback when she retired on Friday from her Brisbane International semifinal match against Daniela Hantuchova. Clijsters took the opening set 7-6(4), but surrendered a break at the start of the second set and needed treatment after the third game. She came back on court for one game before walking to the net and telling Hantuchova she couldn’t continue after falling behind 3-1.
“I felt my left hip was getting tighter and tighter to the point I couldn’t move forward with my upper body,” said Clijsters. “So it was the smartest choice to try and not let it get any worse, to be ready for Melbourne.”
Hantuchova has had an easy trip to the quarterfinals so far after getting the win over Clijsters, she previously was awarded the win over 13-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams when Serena withdrew from the event earlier this week after injuring her left ankle.
The 24th-ranked Hantuchova will be aiming for her fifth WTA Tour title when she plays 34th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who took less than an hour to beat 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-3, 6-0 in the other semifinal.