Linz, Austria – Last week's Beijing champion Victoria Azarenka stayed hot, while two-time Linz titlist Ana Ivanovic went by way of the quarterfinal upset Friday at the Generali Ladies Linz tennis tournament.
The world No. 1 Azarenka, this year's Australian Open titlist and U.S. Open runner-up, reached her 10th semifinal of the year by leveling Croat Petra Martic 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour, 19 minutes on the indoor hardcourts at Tips Arena Linz.
"Every day I have to push myself," Azarenka said. "It's not easy, even when it seems easy out there on court."
The Belarusian Azarenka's semifinal opponent on Saturday will be Romanian lucky-loser Irina-Camelia Begu, who held off American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in Friday's nightcap.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded former top-ranked Ivanovic succumbed to Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-0 in 64 minutes on Day 5. The Serbian Ivanovic captured Linz titles in 2008 and 2010.
"It's incredible that I've beaten her," Flipkens said. "I tried to play my own game and switched a lot between attacking and defensive shots. Then Ana started to make more mistakes. I think that was because of the way I was playing."
The other semifinal will pit Flipkens against fifth-seeded German Julia Goerges, who handled Swedish veteran Sofia Arvidsson 6-1, 6-4.
The newest Linz champion will earn $37,000.