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Kim Clijsters hit the ball so hard, it almost landed in the top deck of Ariake Colosseum. She had just hit a forehand beyond the baseline and her opponent, Jelena Dokic, instinctively returned the ball to Clijsters’ side.

Frustration was mounting with each mistake. The chair umpire gave Clijsters a warning for her behavior, but the one shot that never landed on the court became the momentum-changer in the semifinals for the No. 3 seed in the Toyota Princess Cup on Saturday.

“That was out of frustration. I didn’t know what I was doing, but after that my play got better,” said Clijsters, who earned the who-wants-to-stand-in-for-Venus prize with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory over No. 2 seeded Dokic.

As expected but not with ease, world No. 1 Serena Williams advanced to the final after an early scare from veteran Amy Frazier. With the 7-6 (7-0), 6-3 win in the other semifinal, Williams will face someone aside from her sister, Venus, in a final for the first time since the Italian Open in May.

Clijsters, who lost to Dokic in the semifinals here last year, got off to a slow start but found her rhythm immediately after letting out her frustration with the second set tied 1-1.

She followed the warning with two consecutive winners to take a 2-1 lead and hung on to break Dokic after six deuces in the next game.

And Clijsters knew exactly when the turning point of the match was.

“When I hit the ball into the public,” said Clijsters with a smile. “It sometimes helps — to put all the anger into one thing. . . . I know it’s not a good thing, but I played relaxed afterwards.”

Clijsters continued to apply pressure on Dokic, who apparently was worn out in a contest that lasted 1 hour, 34 minutes. For the match, Clijsters had 28 winners and 13 of them came in the third set. Dokic marked 11 for the match — only four in the final set.

Dokic, who Friday became the second player on tour to notch 50 victories this year, said she’s played in too many events in 2002.

“I don’t think I was as strong this year as I was last year,” said Dokic, the defending champ. “I started to feel it in the second set, and it got much worse in the third. It’s something that’s happened from playing too much.”

The player who hasn’t been on the court much in this tournament was Williams, who took the Toyota Princess Cup title in 2000.

But the top seed struggled against Frazier, who has a history of faring exceptionally well in Japan.

Frazier, the 30-year-old who took the 1999 Japan Open title (which is her most recent WTA singles crown) and holds a 24-10 record in past tournaments in Tokyo, broke Williams’ serve while trailing 3-2 in the first and kept the hard-hitter on her heels all day with deep ground strokes.

“She gave me a really good match,” said Williams, who has a 10-match streak of not losing a set. “It’s good to often play a match like that.”

In the end, it came down to the serve counts: the fearless Williams had five aces and no double faults; Frazier collected zero aces and six double faults — two of them in the tiebreak — in the first set.

“I felt like I needed to go for it. If I just hit it in, she’s just going to hit a winner,” said Frazier, ranked No. 53. “I think that led to a few double faults.”

Williams had not played a tiebreaker since the Wimbledon final against Venus. After her quarterfinal match, Serena warned herself that overlooking Frazier would not be smart.

“I can’t say I expected (the tiebreak), but I was ready,” Williams said. “As a competitor, you have to be ready for anything.”

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