TENNIS - AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Zvonareva, Safina advance into semi-finals

Russia's Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina booked their semi-finals tickets with wins respectively over French 16th-seed Marion Bartoli (pictured) and Jelena Dokic.

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AFP - Russian third seed Dinara Safina survived a huge scare to end Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic's dream run and reach the Australian Open semi-finals in a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 thriller Tuesday.

Safina produced an error-ridden display in front of a fiercely parochial crowd to down the Australian and set up a semi-final against seventh seeded compatriot Vera Zvonareva for a place in the final.

"I am sorry that today I had to defeat your Australian," Safina told a sell-out crowd at the Rod Laver Arena who wildly cheered Dokic's every point.

"I hope that you will be behind me next time."

Safina initially displayed a steely resolve against Dokic, a former world number four now ranked 187 as she makes her comeback to Grand Slam tennis, but the mental fragility that once marred her game emerged as the match wore on.

The world number three squandered numerous chances in the second set, committing eight doubt faults and converting only two of her 13 break point opportunities.

After smashing her racquet into the court when Dokic forced the game to three sets, Safina was cautioned about coaching from the sidelines as the Australian harried her in the decider.

She held on but committed 36 unforced errors and allowed Dokic to push her for two hours 17 minutes.

Dokic was philosphical after the defeat, saying she had proved she could again match it with the best in the world.

"I played three sets with the number three player in the world, so everything is positive," the 25-year-old said.

"I've had a great tournament. It's a little bit disappointing, I had some chances. But sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't."

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