VICTORIA Azarenka has clawed her way through to her first grand slam final by beating defending champion Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open on Thursday.
The third seed was forced to fight off a second-set comeback from Clijsters before asserting her dominance to take the semi-final 6-4 1-6 6-3 in two hours and 12 minutes.
She will meet the winner of the second semi between 2008 champion Maria Sharapova and Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in Saturday's title match.
Clijsters, who was aiming to become the eighth woman to successfully defend her Australian crown, has played her last Open after announcing she will retire for a second and last time this year.
Azarenka admitted she became jittery while holding three match points and serving for a spot in the final.
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