EASTBOURNE, England (AP) ― Marion Bartoli of France beat seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-2 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Eastbourne championships. Bartoli next faces Austria’s Tamira Paszek, who defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-4.
Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic also advanced, winning the last five games of a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.
Rain forced the postponement of the men’s quarterfinals to Friday, when American Andy Roddick is scheduled to face Italian Fabio Fognini.
Also on Thursday, fifth-seeded German Angelique Kerber defeated Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-2, 6-4. Kerber will play Zakopalova in the semifinals.
No. 4 seed Bartoli was tied with Safarova in the first set before she used a backhand winner to break for a 5-4 lead. She dominated the second set, giving up just two points on her serve before wrapping up the match with an ace.
“So far I’m able to play well and to stay consistent into my matches, which is really important on grass,” Bartoli said.
Kerber was ahead 3-1 in the second set when play at Eastbourne was suspended because of rain. When it resumed 2 hours and 40 minutes later, Makarova held serve and then earned two break points. Kerber fought off the threat and went on to reach her seventh semifinal of the year.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I just tried to focus on me, tried to make my game plan and to play until the end,” Kerber said. “I’m happy to manage this and go out there after the rain delay and win the match.”
Clijsters into semifinals
S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands (AFP) ― Kim Clijsters reached the semifinals of the s-Hertogenbosch grasscourt tournament on Thursday, defeating Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 7-6 (7).
Former world number one Clijsters, who before this week hadn’t played since March because of a right hip injury, was the champion in this pre-Wimbledon event in 2003.
And she showed on Thursday that she could be a genuine threat at this year’s Wimbledon which starts on Monday.
“It was a very intense match. Schiavone is a player who keeps fighting and has all sorts of different strokes. It is very important to stay focused,” said Clijsters, who will face Poland’s Urszula Radwanska for a place in the final.
“I am very happy that I can play an additional match before I go to Wimbledon,” added the 28-year-old Belgian who will retire after the U.S. Open.
In the men’s tournament, world number six David Ferrer dropped just three points on serve in a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Dutch wild card Igor Sijsling.
“Sometimes you find good feelings and sometimes it works,” said Ferrer.
“Today I was very good throughout the match, attacking well with my first serve, and maybe he was a little bit nervous.”
The top-seeded Ferrer is bidding to win this grasscourt tournament for the second time after victory on his debut in 2008.
Ferrer goes onto face France’s Benoit Paire, who fired 15 aces as he defeated Japan’s Tatsuma Ito 6-3, 7-5 in 72 minutes.
German qualifier Philipp Petzschner struck 14 aces and broke serve twice as he overcame Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-4, 7-6 (6) in one hour and 35 minutes.
He will face Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, who battled past Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in 86 minutes.