Sat, Jan 08, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Soderling in semi-finals, Bartoli loses

reuters, SYDNEY

Andrea Petkovic of Germany celebrates winning her semi-final match against Marion Bartoli of France at the Brisbane International Tennis tournament yesterday in Brisbane, Australia.

PHOTO: EPA

Robin Soderling’s smooth buildup to this month’s Australian Open continued with a business-like 6-3, 6-2 victory over local qualifier Matt Ebden in their Brisbane International quarter-final yesterday.

The world No. 5 broke his 196th-ranked opponent once in the first set and twice in the second, before sealing the match with an ace.

“I’ve been serving really well all week. I haven’t been broken yet and today especially I managed to serve really well when it really matters,” the Swede said.

Soderling will meet last year’s finalist and 2009 champion Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals, after the Czech upset seventh-seeded German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-3.

Defending champ Andy Roddick will contest the other semi with South African Kevin Anderson.

In the women’s semi-final, Germany’s Andrea Petkovic stunned former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France 6-4, 6-2.

Trailing 4-1 in the first set, Petkovic won five games on the trot and did not take her foot off the pedal in the second set either.

She meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final after the Russian beat Petra Kvitova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the second semi-final.

HOPMAN CUP

AFP, PERTH, AUSTRALIA

A stomach injury to Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic has gifted Belgium a place in the mixed-teams Hopman Cup final today against the US.

The Serbian pairing of Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic were top seeds and led Group A after winning two of their three round-robin ties, with Belgian duo Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans second despite beating the Serbs on Thursday.

However, Ivanovic hurt her stomach in a singles loss to Henin and the injury recurred at practice yesterday. She underwent scans and was ruled out of the final.

The US pairing of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and John Isner only needed to win one rubber against Britain in their Group B tie yesterday to reach the final, which they duly claimed when Mattek-Sands beat Laura Robson in the women’s singles.

WORLD TEAM CHALLENGE

AFP, HONG KONG

Venus Williams crashed in Hong Kong yesterday as her preparations for the Australian Open were marred by a second straight-sets defeat in as many days.

China’s Li Na dominated the seven-time Grand Slam winner in a 6-3, 7-6 victory, helping Asia-Pacific to draw level with the Americas in the silver final of Hong Kong’s World Team Challenge yesterday.

The Hong Kong exhibition features four three-player teams representing Europe, Russia, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region.

The consolation silver group final, between the Americas and Asia-Pacific, consisted of three singles matches and one doubles match.

Earlier Melanie Oudin beat Hong Kong’s Zhang Ling in straight sets.

Mark Philippoussis of Australia was drawn against John McEnroe of the US in the “legends” rubber.

In the final clash of the evening, France’s Aravane Rezai was due to take on Russian Maria Kirilenko in a gold group singles clash.

AUCKLAND CLASSIC

REUTERS, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Champion Yanina Wickmayer survived a scare yesterday to advance to a final against giant-killing Greta Arn, who has beaten three seeds on her way to the final.

The Belgian had to dig deep against China’s Peng Shuai before winning 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the first semi-final, while Arn beat fourth seed Julia Goerges 7-6, 6-3.

Arn’s victory was her third of the week against seeded players, having beaten top-seed Maria Sharapova on Thursday and eighth seed Sofia Arvidsson earlier in the week.

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