Madrid PHOTOS: Bencic, Halep, Stephens, Bertens move into semis

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Belinda Bencic, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens emerged victorious from a strong quarterfinal line-up at the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday.

Unseeded Belinda Bencic improved to 5-0 against Top 5 opponents this season by beating world No.1 Naomi Osaka for the second straight time to reach the Madrid semifinals. After ending Osaka’s BNP Paribas Open title defense in March, the 22-year-old Bencic fought back from a set down in today’s quarterfinals, saving eight of 12 break points and winning the match 3-6 6-2 7-5, even though the Japanese was leading by a break in the deciding set and serving for victory.

Bencic’s next opponent will be two-time Madrid champion Simona Halep, another Top 5 player the Swiss has already beaten this year. The third-ranked Romanian made the semis by taking out Australian ninth seed Ashleigh Barty 7-5 7-5 on court Manolo Santana.

Eighth seed Sloane Stephens defeated Petra Martic 6-4 6-3, the leading player in the number of claycourt wins this season. Stephens’ next opponent will be seventh seed Kiki Bertens, who closed the semifinal field late at night, beating defending champion and second seed Petra Kvitova in a rematch of their last year’s Madrid final 6-2 6-3.

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