April 23, 2006

Clijsters cruises to give Belgium 2-1 lead

By Darren Ennis

LIEGE, Belgium (Reuters) - World number two Kim Clijsters
returned to winning ways on Sunday, crushing Russia's Maria
Kirilenko 6-1 6-4 to give Belgium a 2-1 lead over the defending
champions in their Fed Cup quarter-final.

Clijsters got over her shock defeat to Elena Dementieva on
Saturday by racing through the first set in less than 20
minutes. The U.S. Open champion proved too strong for her
opponent, ranked 20 places below her, and took the second set
in similar style.

Kirilenko was a late call-up to replace Nadia Petrova whose
epic battle on Saturday with Justine Henin-Hardenne, which she
lost in three sets, took its toll.

Victory for Henin-Hardenne over Dementieva later on Sunday
will earn Belgium a semi-final meeting with the United States.
A Belgian win will also end Russia's hopes of winning the Fed
Cup for the third year in succession.