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Williams advances; Nadal out
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Unseeded and ranked No. 81, Serena Williams made it back to a Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Nicole Vaidisova at the Australian Open earlier today.
Williams, who has won two of her seven majors at Melbourne Park, is only one win away from an improbable title.
She played only four tournaments in 2006, finishing the season 12-4 and without a title.
In Wednesday's action, Fernando Gonzalez knocked second-ranked Rafael Nadal out of event with in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 victory that took just over two hours. Gonzalez, who advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal, broke Nadal five times, and his 41 winners were almost triple Nadal's 14. His 10 aces gave him 76 in five matches for the tournament lead; Andy Roddick is second with 71.
"I played really unbelievable tennis," he said. "I am trying to slice more, trying to run more. I used to just hit, hit, hit, and maybe I win the point."
Nadal said he was hampered by pain in his left leg that cropped up after his last match, a five-setter against Andy Murray.
Gonzalez will play Germany's Tommy Haas on Friday. The 12th-seeded Haas saved a match point before upsetting No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 2-6, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters, starting her farewell tour, earlier beat friend Martina Hingis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the women's semifinals. She will face top-seeded Maria Sharapova, who advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year.