Doha :US Open champion Kim Clijsters reached the final of the WTA Championships despite being involved in a "scary" car crash on the way to the venue on Saturday.
Clijsters' 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win over Australia's Samantha Stosur was ultimately impressive despite slipping to an early 0-3 deficit, which some attributed to the upset of her vehicle being smashed into by a large truck.
She was physically unhurt, but she admitted that it was "a bit of a shock," and that her manager Bob Verbeeck suffered from cuts.
"I don't know exactly what happened," she added, "But there was a lot of glass, and Bob was cut, and we got lucky."
Her vehicle was abandoned by the side of the highway while a replacement was being summoned.
Clijsters tweeted: "We just had an accident on the way to the courts. So scary. Bob, my manager took the hit. We are all okay....Just the car is ready for the junk yard."
Clijsters quickly went 0-3 down and did not really seem herself until 20 minutes into the match. Then she carved out a break back point with a topspin backhand down the line which combined great pace with magnetic accuracy.
She converted that chance quickly, and served her way back to 3-3, but had to save a set point at 4-5, 30-40, when she came up with a similarly brilliant winner, unerringly parallel to the sideline.
Her next crucial push came in the tie-break, when a heavy forehand drive went for a winner off the edge of the baseline to make a mini-break for 5-3.
Clijsters reached 6-3 when Stosur missed with a drive volley from a good position, and from that point on the match changed character. Clijsters won her first set point, and immediately took charge of the second set.
Ever the diplomat she denied though that her play had been adversely affected by the accident.
"Everyone was distracted and I was trying to switch off my mental state when we got to the stadium," she explained. "But I felt better after I had had a hit and a shower."
Clijsters now has a showdown with Caroline Wozniacki, the year-end world number one from Denmark, who produced a crowd-rousing fight-back to overcome Vera Zvonareva, the world number two from Russia, by 7-5, 6-0.
Wozniacki led 4-1 and then slipped to 5-4, 40-15 down before tenaciously saving two set points in a row with her mobile, consistent game.
Once she had done that the match utterly changed, and the favourite hurtled through nine games in a row to reach the final.
There Wozniacki will have a chance to avenge herself against Clijsters who beat her in the semi-finals en route to a successful defence of the US Open title seven weeks ago.
"I'm not sure how I am going to do that," answered Wozniacki when asked how she would achieve it. "I shall just try to enjoy the occasion - this is a huge tournament - and we will see what I come up with."
However this is Clijsters first tournament since their New York meeting, following a foot operation, and her capacity to rise to her greatest heights remains unclear.
"I felt that slowly every day I felt better," Clijsters said. "So far I think today was my best match. It's been improving."
Her sense of humour though has hardly left her at all.
"But we might be walking back to the hotel," she joked.