Top-ranked Safina ends Clijsters WTA comeback run

CINCINNATI: World number one Dinara Safina ended the comeback run of Kim Clijsters, defeating the former top-ranked player 6-2, 7-5 in the quarter-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament here.

Unseeded Clijsters, who had won six of seven prior meetings with Safina, was playing in her first event in two years after the Belgian took a break from the sport to start a family.

"Dinara played some of her best tennis that I've seen," Clijsters said. "That's the best she's ever played against me."

Clijsters was excited by the progress she has made in four matches back this week, even hungering for another chance at the world's top player.

"So far it's working. I had really good results and feel my level here has risen," Clijsters said. "I kind of feel like I want to go out there and do it all over again."

Russian top seed Safina took advantage of knowledge gained from losses at the hands of Clijsters and the improvements in her own game to emerge triumphant.

"I know exactly what to expect from her," Safina said. "For me, she's one of the best players. I thought I was very aggressive and didn't let her dictate too much."

Safina will next face Italy's Flavia Pennetta, who eliminated Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3.

Russian fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva ousted Danish eighth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-1 to reach her fifth semi-final of the season, where she will meet Serbian fifth seed Jelena Jankovic, who ousted Austria's Sybille Bammer 6-0, 6-3.

The champion will take home 350,000 dollars from the two million-dollar event, a tuneup for the US Open which begins August 31.