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Ana, Daniela To Face Off In Birmingham Final Four

Ana Ivanovic and Daniela Hantuchova both won their quarterfinal matches in straight sets on Friday at the AEGON Classic.

Published June 10, 2011 07:10

Ana, Daniela To Face Off In Birmingham Final Four
Ana Ivanovic

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom - Ana Ivanovic is into her first semifinal of the year after handling Mirjana Lucic, 63 64, on Friday at the AEGON Classic.

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"I'm very happy with the win," the second-seeded Ivanovic said. "She served really well in the beginning. It was hard to get any break points, so I just tried to focus more on my serve, and then an opportunity presented itself toward the end of the first set and I'm glad I took advantage of it. The second set was strange, as we kept exchanging breaks at the beginning, so I'm just happy I was able to hold my serve at the end."

Ivanovic looked to be back in Grand Slam-contending form after winning Bali to conclude last year and then rising to No.17 in the world, her highest ranking since October 2009. But her momentum stalled this season, losing early at several events, including both majors so far. However, in three matches this week, she has yet to lose more than four games in a set.

"I'm just enjoying competing again," Ivanovic said. "I have a lot of nice memories on grass courts. Since the first match this week, I've felt good about myself and my game. I'm just trying to enjoy it while it lasts and have fun out there."

Up next for Ivanovic is No.4 seed Daniela Hantuchova. Ivanovic has to like her chances in that one, as she is 4-1 against the Slovak, though her one loss was on grass. Hantuchova put an end to the run of Alison Riske, 62 64, on Friday. In her seventh appearance at this event, she has now matched her best result, a semifinal showing in 2001.

"The first set was very good. I made it a little too complicated in the second set, being a break up and throwing that away," Hantuchova said. "But that set could have gone either way, so I'm glad I was able to close it out."

Hantuchova is putting together an impressive year, highlighted by her first title in four years in Pattaya City, a semifinal showing in Strasbourg, a fourth round showing at Roland Garros that included a third round upset of Caroline Wozniacki and at least a semifinal showing here.

Saturday's other semifinal will see third-seeded Peng Shuai take on Sabine Lisicki. Peng, who before this week had already been a runner-up at one event this year and a semifinalist at three, edged Marina Erakovic, 64 46 63. Lisicki got past 14th-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova, 76(1) 64, to reach her first final four since she was a runner-up at Luxembourg in October 2009.

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