Soderling in Brisbane semis, Bartoli loses
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Robin Soderling's smooth buildup to this month's Australian Open continued with a business-like 6-3 6-2 victory over local qualifier Matt Ebden in their Brisbane International quarter-final on Friday.
The Swedish world number five broke his 196th-ranked opponent once in the first set and twice in the second before sealing the 71-minute match with an ace.
"I've been serving really well all week. I haven't been broken yet and today especially I managed to serve really well when it really matters," said twice French Open finalist Soderling, who has not dropped a set in the tournament.
"I still know that I can play better. I've played three pretty solid matches so it feels good coming into tomorrow's semi-final."
Soderling will meet last year's finalist and 2009 champion Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals, after the Czech 32-year-old upset seventh-seeded German Florian Mayer 6-3 6-3.
"I've played against Radek many times and we've always had tough matches so I have to stay focused on this one," Soderling added.
Defending champion Andy Roddick will contest the other semi-final in a big-serving shootout with towering South African Kevin Anderson.
In the women's semi-final, Germany's Andrea Petkovic stunned former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France 6-4 6-2 in 77 minutes.
Trailing 4-1 in the first set, Petkovic won five games on the trot and did not take her foot off the pedal in the second set either.
She meets Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final after the Russian beat Petra Kvitova 6-4 4-6 6-2 in the second semi-final.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne and Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien and John Mehaffey)