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Safarova, Pennetta advance to Paris semifinals

PARIS (AP) — Flavia Pennetta and Lucie Safarova advanced Friday to the semifinals of the Open GDF Suez.

The second-seeded Pennetta cruised past Tathiana Garbin 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Italian matchup and will face Safarova, who defeated sixth-seeded Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-0.

"It was not easy because we know each other very well," Pennetta said. "We are friends, we spend time outside the court. But when you go in the court, you just have to concentrate on your game and try to forget there is a friend on the other side."

Garbin saved four match points at 5-2 after Pennetta had took a 3-0 lead in the second set. But Pennetta converted her fifth match point in the next game when Garbin netted a forehand.

Pennetta broke Garbin three times in the first set.

Peer held serve to lead 3-2 but Safarova won 10 straight games to clinch the first set and the match.

Safarova lost the 2007 final to Nadia Petrova.

"I have really good memories from 2007," Safarova said. "The crowd was great in supporting me. I was really surprised that they remembered me from three years ago."

Later on Friday, top-seeded Elena Dementieva faces Andrea Petkovic, while American teenager Melanie Oudin will play 2008 finalist Agnes Szavay.