TENNIS - BRISBANE

Mauresmo ousts top-seeded Ivanovic to reach semis

France's Amelie Mauresmo ousted top-seeded Serbian Ana Ivanovic (6-3, 6-2) to advance to the Brisbane semi-finals. The former world number one is set to meet either fellow countrywoman Marion Bartoli or Italy's Tathiana Garbin.

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AFP - Amelie Mauresmo showed she was still a force to be reckoned with as she thumped top seed Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International here Thursday.

   
Mauresmo, the world No.23, took just 67 minutes to down the fifth-ranked Ivanovic, who struggled through the first two rounds of the tournament and looked completely out of touch against the 29-year-old Frenchwoman.

The win was Mauresmo's first over a top 10 player since she beat Kim Clijsters in Antwerp in 2007 and sets up a semi-final against either her fellow countrywoman Marion Bartoli or Italy's Tathiana Garbin.

Both Mauresmo and Ivanovic had marathon second round matches on Wednesday but Mauresmo, eight years older than her Serbian opponent, looked the fresher of the two players.

She broke Ivanovic in the seventh game then broke again two games later to take the first set in 34 minutes.

Mauresmo broke again in the fourth game of the second set to jump out to a 3-1 lead and although Ivanovic struck back immediately to give her supporters some hope, it proved to be her last real resistance as Mauresmo raced away to take the next three games and the match.

"I'm very proud about the way I played today and how from the first point to the last I was really focused," Mauresmo, a former world No.1, said.

"I was trying to be aggressive and intense and trying not to let (Ivanovic) dictate the game, because that's what she loves and I was trying to avoid that.

"I was also really trying to focus on my serve which was very good today so I'm happy about that as well."

Ivanovic said she had been feeling the effects of her two and a half hour match with Roberta Vinci on Wednesday night, where she was forced to save two match points against the unheralded Italian.

"I didn't have that much time to recover -- I had to come here early this morning to hit some balls so I didn't have the energy to dig deep today again," she said.

"But Amelie's a great player and she's a very tough opponent -- she's very experienced as well so all credit to her."

Second seed Victoria Azarenka came from 1-5 down in the first set to defeat Czech player Lucie Safarova 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in their quarter-final.

Safarova was in great touch as she broke the Belarusian twice in the first set, but at 2-5 down Azarenka called coach Antonio Van Grichen on court for some advice and never looked back.

She forced a tiebreak in the first then broke Safarova in the fifth game of the second and held on for the win.

"He (Van Grichen) told me just to keep going and that she was playing very good from the side," Azarenka said.

"He told me to take the angles away so she couldn't hit too many winners."

Azarenka said she had adapted well to the new rule, which allows coaches to go courtside and give advice.

"I don't really like to call the coach all the time but sometimes when you really need something I do."

Azarenka will play Italian Sara Errani in the semi-finals after the world No.42 downed Belarusian Olga Govortsova 6-3, 6-3.

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