Stosur seals semi-final spot as Clijsters crashes

Eastbourne: French Open finalist Samantha Stosur ended the British dream at the Eastbourne International Thursday with a comeback 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-0 quarter-final win over Elena Baltacha.

Baltacha was the first woman from the host nation to play in the last-eight of the pre-Wimbledon event since Jo Durie in 1983.

But world number nine and fifth seed Kim Clijsters was beaten as unseeded Victoria Azarenka claimed her fourth win this season over a Top ten player 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.

Belgium`s Clijsters steamed through her first two matches of the week, losing a total of three games before Azarenka brought the US Open winner back down to earth.

Clijsters lost the last four games of the match, ending with a forehand into the net. "I was up 4-2 in the second set but a couple of double faults and some good returns from her pushed me back quickly from there," said Clijsters.

"I wasn`t able to dictate and she took risks on her second serve. I`m still happy with the first two matches here and with parts of this one as well."

Azarenka will next play Marion Bartoli after the French eighth seed reached the semis for the fourth year running with a 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) defeat of Spain`s Maria-Jose Martinez Sanchez.

"I`ve never played Marion on grass, but I know she`s done great things on it," said Azarenka, who won the 2009 Brisbane title over Bartoli on hardcourt. "I`m looking forward to it."

Australian Stosur, whose successful clay season took her to the title match against Francesca Schiavone at Roland Garros, fired 15 aces in turning her match around to claim victory in just over two hours.

Stosur will play against unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5.

Stosur came up short in the tie-breaker against Baltacha, 27, which decided the lengthy opening set. The Aussie lifted her level to swamp the 62nd-ranked Briton as they met for the first time since 2004 in Birmingham.

Stosur moved into her fifth semi-final of the season and second at Eastbourne after 2008.

"Once I got the break in the second set, it all opened up," said Stosur.

"I started serving better and she felt under more pressure. It just built and built and built. Midway through the third I was fully in control."

Bureau Report

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