Stephens, Barthel reach Hobart semis

American Sloane Stephens and defending champion Mona Barthel of Germany were among the quarterfinal winners Thursday at the Hobart International.

The eighth-seeded Stephens advanced with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over fellow American Lauren Davis, while the ninth-seeded Barthel cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

Stephens has had a strong start to the 2013 campaign. She reached the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane before bowing out to eventual champion Serena Williams.

The 19-year-old Florida native will next face Elena Vesnina in the semifinals after the Russian posted a 6-3, 6-2 rout of Australian Jarmila Gajdosova. Vesnina is still searching for her first WTA title, having finished as a runner-up six times previously in her career.

Barthel's semifinal opponent will be Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who rallied for a 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Romania's Monica Niculescu on Thursday. Flipkens was a quarterfinalist last week in Auckland and is trying for her second career WTA title, having won for the first time last year in Quebec City.

Barthel captured her lone WTA title at this Australian Open tune-up last year.