Clijsters beats Wozniacki to push her off World No 1 spot

Defending champion beats Dane in quarter-finals to end her controversial reign at the top

Defending champion Kim Clijsters ousted top seed Caroline Wozniacki and ended her controversial reign as World No 1 with a straight-sets win in the Australian Open quarter-finals yesterday.

Caroline Wozniacki reacts during her defeat Kim Clijsters in the Australian
Open quarter-finals yesterday. Pic/AFP

Clijsters held off a determined fightback from the 21-year-old Dane to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in 1hr 45min and set up a semi-final against third seed Victoria Azarenka, who beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.

Kim Clijsters celebrates her win over Wozniacki

By failing to progress, Wozniacki is guaranteed to lose her No 1 ranking to Azarenka, Petra Kvitova or Maria Sharapova when the new standings are released next Monday.

Clijsters, a four-time Grand Slam champ and mother-of-one, broke Wozniacki four times in the first set as she dominated her younger rival on both her forehand and backhand sides and although Wozniacki broke twice herself, she was always playing catch-up.

The second set followed a similar pattern, but Clijsters faltered while serving for the match at 5-3.

The tiebreak went with serve until 4-4, when Clijsters stepped up to win the next three points and seal victory with a simple put-away into the open court.

"It didn't feel like being up a set and 5-2," the Belgian said. "I really had to work at it. Caroline changed her tactics (in the second set) and became a bit more aggressive."

Wozniacki has occupied the rankings top spot since October 11, 2010, apart from one week last February, but she has faced constant questions over her right to be considered the best player because she has never won a major title.

But the defiant Dane, said: "You know, to be honest, I don't really think about it. I have been there for a long time already. I finished No 1 two years in a row.

We are only in January. In the end of the year, you see who has played the best, most consistently all year round. I will get it back eventually, so I'm not worried."

Earlier, Azarenka lost the first set against the eighth-seeded Radwanska, but she came storming back to win 6-7 (0/7), 6-0, 6-2 in searing heat in the Rod Laver Arena.

Former champion Sharapova and Ekaterina Makarova will contest an all-Russian quarter-final on Wednesday, while Wimbledon title-holder Kvitova plays Sara Errani of Italy.

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