TENNIS

Williams, Dementieva move into semis

Russia's fourth seed, Elena Dementieva (pictured), overpowered Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time. She will play Serena Williams, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova.

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Reuters - Russia's fourth seed Elena Dementieva overpowered Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-2 in scorching heat on Wednesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time.

Dementieva, 27, had never been past the fourth round of the Open in 10 previous attempts.

But she underlined why she was one of the pre-tournament favourites with her straight sets demolition of the unseeded Spaniard in temperatures reaching 39.5 degrees Celsius (103 F).

"There were a couple of hot days up in Sydney but it gets much hotter on the centre court so I'm glad to have won in two sets," she said.

Suarez Navarro caused one of the shocks of the tournament when she dumped Venus Williams in the second round, but she could not repeat that type of form against an opponent who remains unbeaten in three tournaments this year.

The Russian will now play either Serena Williams or Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semi-finals, keeping alive hopes of an all-Russian Grand Slam final for the first time in history.

Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva play the other semi-final on Thursday.

Suarez Navarro, 20, won the toss and chose to serve first, but she started nervously and was broken immediately by the fourth seed.

Dementieva then broke again in the third game and after 20 minutes the Russian had a 4-0 lead.

Suarez Navarro had her first game point of the match at 40-30 in the fifth and managed to hang on to get on the scoreboard.

That seemed to give her some confidence and she began to find the range with her ground strokes which had caused so much damage in her win over Williams.

She had break points in the next game, which lasted an incredible 19 minutes, but she couldn't convert and any chance of getting back into the set was gone.

The players then took a 10-minute heat break and when they came back on Dementieva broke Suarez Navarro to get the perfect start to the second set.

Suarez Navarro had three chances to break back in the next game but Dementieva unleashed some big serves to cancel them out and open up a 2-0 lead.

The Spaniard held her next serve but was broken again in the fifth game, Dementieva then holding on for a comfortable win in one hour, 35 minutes.
 

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