Tsvetana Pironkova reached her second biggest WTA semifinal by taking Sara Errani out of the Apia International Sydney 7-6(2) 6-3. The Bulgarian qualifier was generally not pleased with her last season’s results, even though her preparations for it were tough, so this off-season she took things easier and worked more on her fitness and mentality. Next for Pironkova is second seed Petra Kvitova, who defeated Lucie Safarova 7-6(4) 6-2. Kvitova has beaten Pironkova in all their three previous meetings.
The second semifinal pair features fifth seed Angelique Kerber, who defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-4 in the quarterfinals, and Madison Keys, who advanced much more easily than expected when Bethanie Mattek Sands retired with a lower back injury during the first set.
At the Hobart International, the other tournament in action this week, top seed Samantha Stosur scraped through with a marathon 6-4 2-6 7-6(7) second-round victory over Kristina Mladenovic, after saving two match points in the nail-biting third-set tiebreak. Her next opponent will be eighth seed Bojana Jovanovski, while other quarterfinal pairs are Alison Riske vs. seventh seed Klara Zakopalova, Monica Niculescu vs. Estrella Cabeza Candela and Garbine Muguruza vs. second seed Kirsten Flipkens. (photo: Jimmie48)