Zvonareva beats Bartoli to reach semis | sports | Hindustan Times
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Zvonareva beats Bartoli to reach semis

sports Updated: Jan 27, 2009 23:53 IST

Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonareva reached the Australian Open semi-finals with a crushing 6-3, 6-0 win over French 16th seed Marion Bartoli Tuesday in searing conditions at Melbourne Park.

Zvonareva kept her cool after going down 3-1 in the first set to win 11 straight games as Bartoli wilted in the heat.

"I like it when it's warm, so it's perfect for me," Zvonareva said of the conditions, which left Bartoli bent double and sucking for breath in the second set rout.

The 23-year-old Russian has been in ominous form in reaching her first ever Grand Slam semi-final. She is yet to drop a set in the tournament while holding her opponents to 6-0 in four of the 10 sets she has contested.

Her ability to deal with the testing conditions proved crucial against Bartoli, who could not find the red-hot form with which she ousted world number one Jelena Jankovic.

"It was a great match for me today because Marion is a very, very good player so I'm happy about that," Zvonareva said.

"I was trying to execute my shots and cut down on the unforced errors a lot, I think that helped me."

She will meet either fellow Russian Dinara Safina, seeded three, or Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic in the semis.

Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist in 2007, came out swinging early in the match but her aggressive tactics proved unsuited to the hot conditions.

She drew first blood, taking advantage of a Zvonareva double fault and a rash of unforced errors from the Russian to go up a break in the first game.

Zvonareva, playing in only the second Grand Slam quarter-final of her career, managed to break back in the next.

But Bartoli, covering her head with a towel between games to provide some relief from the heat, lobbed an advancing Zvonareva on her way to another break.

The 23-year-old Frenchwoman surrendered the advantage three games later, committing two double faults and allowing Zvonareva to level the set at 3-3.

The Russian, who took a 6-1 winning record against Bartoli into the match, began to recover from her slow start, her penetrating groundstrokes finally finding their mark.

She gained the upper hand with another break to go up 5-3, sending down her first ace of the match in the next as she went on to serve out the set after 38 minutes.

The conditions took their toll on Bartoli in the second set and Zvonareva moved her around the court, breaking her three times as she raced to a 6-0 lead in just 30 minutes.