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On comeback trail, Clijjsters reaches final

By TIMES WIRES
Published November 5, 2006


TENNIS

HASSELT, Belgium - Kim Clijsters beat Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 Saturday to advance to the final of the Gaz de France.

Top-seeded Clijsters, who was sidelined 10 weeks with a left wrist injury, defends her title today against Kaia Kanepi, who reached the final by beating Michaella Krajicek 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.

Clijsters is favored to win her 33rd career title and third this year.

When asked what she knew about Kanepi, Clijsters said, "She is tall. To be honest, when I saw her on my first day of training here, I was really impressed. I was wondering, does she really belong in qualifying?"

Elsewhere

PARIS MASTERS: Nikolay Davydenko reached his seventh final of the season, beating Tommy Robredo 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Davydenko faces 17th-seeded Dominik Hrbaty, who advanced after 10th-seeded Tommy Haas retired because of gastroenteritis while trailing 6-4, 1-0. Haas' loss means Tampa resident James Blake takes the eighth and final spot in the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai. The Nov. 12-19 event in China will feature Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Davydenko, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Roddick, Robredo, David Nalbandian and Blake.

BOXING

Taiwanese architect takes reins of amateur group

A Taiwanese architect, whose supporters accused the International Boxing Association's longtime leader of corruption and mismanagement, was elected president of the amateur boxing group. Ching-Kuo Wu won the election 83-79, unseating Anwar Chowdhry, 84, of Pakistan, who has led the association for two decades.

Wu, 60, will direct amateur boxing for the next four years.

SOCCER

U.S. women clinch title in Peace Queen Cup

Kristine Lilly scored in the 68th minute to give the United States a 1-0 victory over Canada to clinch the Peace Queen Cup in Seoul, South Korea.

Lilly, the team's captain, scored with a curling, rising drive from 15 yards after sidestepping a defender on the edge of the area. It was her 116th career goal.

The Americans' campaign was marred only by a 1-1 draw with Denmark as the team went on to beat Asian Cup runnersup Australia and the Netherlands to top Group B in the eight-team event.

Canada, semifinalists in the 2003 World Cup, beat world No. 4 Brazil, Italy and host South Korea to top Group A.

The tournament is a tuneup ahead of regional qualifiers for the 2007 World Cup in China.

ET CETERA

horses: Even on a bad day, trainer Todd Pletcher set a record.

Pletcher, shut out with 17 runners in the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, still set the single-season record for graded-stakes wins when Safari Queen captured the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap for fillies and mares on the turf at Aqueduct in New York.

Pletcher has 54 graded-stakes victories, moving one past D. Wayne Lukas.

figure skating: Canadian champion Joannie Rochette rallied to win the Skate Canada women's title in Victoria, British Columbia, beating Japan's Fumie Suguri in the free skate.

Rochette, 20, fifth after the short program, made only one error, popping out of a planned triple loop jump. She landed five other triples cleanly, and her spins, step sequences and artistry carried her past Suguri.

"I thought, 'Do one thing at a time, one element at a time, and just do it for yourself and don't worry about what the others do,' " Rochette said.

Defending champion Alissa Czisny of the United States was fourth in the Grand Prix event.

The men's free skate was later Saturday night.

VOLLEYBALL

Brazil overtakes U.S. at world championships

Tournament favorite Brazil defeated the United States in straight sets to continue its unbeaten run at the world championships in Tokyo.

The Brazilians, who clinched their fourth successive World Grand Prix in September, won 25-23, 25-21, 25-13 to hand the sixth-ranked United States its first defeat in the tournament.