Ice and easy for Clijsters
Kim Clijsters (Gallo Images)
Melbourne - Belgium's Kim Clijsters on Tuesday revealed she had been icing her injured ankle every 20 minutes in a desperate bid to keep her Australian Open title defence on track.
Clijsters rolled her left ankle painfully during her epic fourth-round win over Li Na but she showed no signs of discomfort in Tuesday's 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) quarter-final win over Caroline Wozniacki.
It was the latest in a series of injuries for Clijsters, 28, who suffered a hip spasm this month, missed months of last season with an abdominal problem and had a scan for an unspecified neck problem in recent days.
But the mother-of-one refused to have a hospital scan for the ankle problem, saying she preferred to go for broke in her final season before retiring.
"I refused (to have a scan). I already had a scan on my neck a couple of days ago. I said no more. Whatever it is, I'm going to try to make the best out of it, then we'll see when I get home how I'm feeling," she said.
"I have seen more hospitals these last six months than anything, so no more for me."
She admitted that decision had meant she spent more time working on her health than preparing for her upcoming matches, and had hardly practised since Sunday.
"Instead of really focusing on the match you're focusing on trying to get the ankle as good as possible," she said.
"Laying on the couch, every 20 minutes ice, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes ice, 20 minutes off. Leg elevated. Lymphatic drainage, all that stuff.
"I had a light hit yesterday without really sidewards movement, just try to get a feel for the ball, and then back to the icing and all that same routine all over again."
Clijsters, a four-time grand slam champion, ended Wozniacki's reign as world number one and moved one step closer to defending her title with the impressive win.
She now takes on Victoria Azarenka, a 6-7 (0/7), 6-0, 6-2 winner over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the first semi-final.
"It's going to be very important to be dominant," Clijsters said. "She's improved a lot on her fitness and her movement, which was definitely a weakness in the past."