Top seed Kim Clijsters crushed German Julia Schruff 6-2, 6-3 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Gaz de France Stars WTA tournament in Hasselt, Belgium.
The world No. 2 dominated the court from the very beginning when she clinched an early break in the first set. The US Open champion did not gave her opponent much chance to fight back later as she thundered through to her third two-set victory at the 170,000-US dollar Tier III event.
Clijsters is seeking her ninth tour crown this year and is well on course for the much coveted year-end WTA No. 1 ranking. Should the 22-year-old succeed in clinching this week's title, she will return to the top position she held for a while two years ago.
After Friday's clash Clijsters said Shruff was solid and her base game was "nearly without errors." The Belgian said some of her service games did not run well but overall she was satisfied with her performance.
Clijsters will play against fourth seed Dinara Safina on Saturday after the Russian sealed a ticket to the semifinals Friday by ousting eighth seed Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/ 5) in late night action.
Friday's biggest surprise came from the duel between second seeded French Nathalie Dechy and Dutch teenager Michaella Krajicek, when the 26-year-old veteran was unexpectedly downed by the world No. 68 6-4, 6-3.
"This might very well be the most beautiful victory of my career," a thrilled Krajicek said after the match. "I really enjoyed it a lot and I never thought I would be able to beat Dechy."
Dechy is currently world No. 13 in the WTA tour rankings.
The 16-year-old Krajicek will face third seed Francesca Schiavone from Italy in Saturday's semifinal. Schiavone overwhelmed Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 6-2 to sail through to the penultimate round.