Linz: Former champion Daniela Hantuchova was toppled in the quarter-finals of the WTA event here on Friday, losing 6-4, 6-4 to Swiss left-hander Patty Schnyder.
But another ex-champion, Ana Ivanovic, overcame a strong challenge from Germany’s Julia Goerges to advance 7-6 (8/6), 6-2.
Schnyder had lost her previous five meetings with Hantuchova, including a defeat in the 2007 Linz final, but her last victory over the second-seeded Slovak was also in Linz -- at the same stage five years ago.
There was little to separate the pair, but Schnyder’s greater versatility gave her a small advantage.
She was also more willing to come off the baseline and a backhand volley at the net gave her the first break of the match at 2-2.
Although Hantuchova immediately leveled at 3-3, Schnyder forced a backhand error to break again for a 5-4 lead and she took the set when the umpire over-ruled that Hantuchova had hit the ball long.
Hantuchova then failed to take advantage of two break points in the second set and after fighting off three break points at 3-3 she surrended her serve at 4-4 when she sent a backhand wide.
“I have so much respect for her and she is such a great competitor,” said Schnyder. “We had some great rallies, especially in the first set. The second set was a little dramatic and I think I should have won a little bit easier.
“I had so many chances, but she is a great competitor and I’m happy to be in the semis.”
Ivanovic always held the advantage over Goerges in a high-quality battle but struggled to close out the opening set.
She broke to lead 4-2 but failed to close out the set on her serve at 5-3.
The Serbian then held three set points on her opponent’s serve at 5-4, saved a set point in the tie-break and eventually clinched the set on her fourth set point.
A superbly struck forehand winner down the line gave her a vital break for 3-2 in the second set, and she broke again for 5-2 on her fourth break point.
“She is a very tough opponent,” said Ivanovic.
“It was a close match and the first set was decided by a few points here and there. I had some chances early on to close. I was serving at 5-3 but I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
“I am really pleased that I used my chances later in the first set and that gave me a good push for the second set.”
In the other quarter-finals, sixth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic ended the run of Greek qualifier Eleni Daniilidou, but needed eight set points to close out the first set on her way to a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
Roberta Vinci won all-Italian battle, beating Sara Errani 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
In the semi-finals, Petkovic plays Schnyder and Vinci faces Ivanovic.