Kim Clijsters faces a race to be fit in time for the defence of her Australian Open title after suffering a hip injury at the Brisbane International.

33249 - Fitness race for Clijsters after Brisbane withdrawal

Clijsters had looked to be returning to top form in Queensland, and won a tight opening set from Daniela Hantuchova, but was forced to retire after receiving treatment on the court.

Clijsters was slow out of the blocks as Hantuchova raced to a 3-0 lead, but in a high-quality encounter the former world No. 1 battled back to clinch the opening set on a tiebreak.

If Clijsters thought she had broken Hantuchova's resistance, she was mistaken, as the world No. 24 claimed an early break in the second, before Clijsters signalled that she required attention and was forced to offer her hand to her opponent, with the score at 6-7(4) 3-1.

Hantuchova was given a free pass into the semi-finals following Serena Williams' withdrawal, and now profits from Clijsters' injury. She will face Kaia Kanepi in the final after the Estonian stunned third seed Francesca Schiavone in straight sets.

Schiavone appeared to be feeling the effects of her three-hour quarter-final battle against Jelena Jankovic on Thursday, as she surrendered tamely to a 6-3 6-0 defeat.

Elsewhere, at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, Flavia Pennetta cruised through to the final with a 6-1 6-2 demolition of Germany's Angelique Kerber. Pennetta, the fourth seed for the tournament, took less than an hour to complete the win as she dominated from the back of the court, breaking Kerber's serve five times in the process.

Pennetta will meet Zheng Jie in the decider as she came from a set down to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova 2-6 6-3 6-3. The Russian fell apart after claiming the opening set, while Zheng made the most of her opportunity to oust the third seed.