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Wimbledon: Kim Clijsters joins Venus Williams on the sidelines

June 29, 2010 |  7:21 am

Clijsters_400 Instead of a Venus Williams against Kim Clijsters semifinal at Wimbledon, it will be Vera Zvonareva against Tsvetana Pironkova (who just upset Williams). Zvonareva was nervous early but stayed not only steady but attacking and aggressive as the match progressed and upset eighth-seeded Clijsters 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Clijsters, who won the U.S. Open last September only a month into a comeback after an 18-month retirement, had never lost to the 21st-seeded Zvonareva in five previous matches, and Zvonareva has a history of being vulnerable to nerves against higher-ranked players. But as this Wimbledon quarterfinal progressed, it was Clijsters who seemed to lose her nerve, making bunches of unforced errors and being unable to penetrate the Zvonareva power.

"As a kid watching Wimbledon on TV, I was always wanting to win this tournament," Zvonareva said. In her eighth Wimbledon, this is Zvonareva's best finish (she had been as far as the fourth round twice) and may be familiar to Southern Californians because she won Indian Wells in 2009, her best career tournament win. Zvonareva was also an Australian Open semifinalist in 2009.

-- Diane Pucin in Wimbledon, England

Photo: Belgium's Kim Clijsters plays against Russia's Vera Zvonareva on Tuesday. Credit: Glyn Kirk / AFP.