Bartoli Blazes Into SFs

Marion Bartoli upheld her tournament favorite status with a straight set quarterfinal victory.

Published January 06, 2011 12:00

Bartoli Blazes Into SFs
Marion Bartoli

BRISBANE, Australia - Just one of the Brisbane International's Top 4 seeds made the quarterfinals - Marion Bartoli - and on Thursday morning she blazed into the semifinals of the $220,000 tournament in straight sets.

Seeded No.4 this week, the Frenchwoman completed her win just after high noon, rolling over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova routinely, 62 61.

"The conditions were very heavy, so it was hard to take control of the rallies from the back of the court," Bartoli told reporters after the match. "I kept trying to hit through it though and from 2-all I was able to really take control. I'm happy to get through this match and into the semifinals here in Brisbane again."

Bartoli was a runner-up here in 2009, falling to Victoria Azarenka in the final. A few weeks later, she went all the way to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. "When I played well here two years ago, I played well in Melbourne too. So this is good preparation for the first Grand Slam of the season."

In the semis Bartoli faces Andrea Petkovic, who beat Jarmila Groth, 63 64.

"I'm a Diesel - it takes me a while before I get going," said Petkovic, who lost the first two games of the match and even faced points for 0-3. "I feel like I have the chances and the game to win another WTA title. But Marion is a very unpredictable player - if she has a good day it's tough to get into the match. But if I play like I did today, it could be hard for her to get into the match too."

Bartoli leads her head-to-head series against Petkovic, 1-0.

In the other semifinal it will be No.5 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova taking on Czech left-hander Petra Kvitova. Pavlyuchenkova nearly had a disaster against another Czech lefty, Lucie Safarova, coming within a game of victory at 62 51 but eventually grinding out a 62 67(4) 63 win in almost three hours. Safarova led 2-0 in the third set but the upset just wasn't in the cards.

"I was playing unbelievable tennis to get to 62 51, but maybe I relaxed a little bit there and Lucie started playing with nothing to lose," Pavlyuchenkova said. "It was so tough to break her in the third set, but once I did I started playing better again. Honestly, I have no emotion or energy left. I'm happy but I'm so tired."

"Anastasia was too tough in the end but it was a great match," Safarova said. "The preparation has been good here in Brisbane. I've reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open before and I would love to do it again. But it's tough - you have to be healthy and playing well, and you need a little bit of luck too. It all has to come together at the right moment. I hope to do well."

Kvitova dispatched Dominika Cibulkova earlier, 60 64, winning the first eight games of the match before the two held serve the rest of the way.

"Because of the rain I warmed up three times for this match, but I'm happy I finally played and won," Kvitova said. "Dominika moves well and is really fast so it's always tough playing her. I'm happy to reach the semifinals in my first tournament of the year. I prepared well for this year during the off-season."

Pavlyuchenkova and Kvitova are tied in their head-to-head series, 1-1.

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