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Rediff.com  » Sports » Zvonareva beats Bartoli to reach semis

Zvonareva beats Bartoli to reach semis

Last updated on: January 27, 2009 12:16 IST

Vera Zvonareva won 11 games in a row to demolish Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-0 at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Tuesday, the decisive victory earning the Russian a first Grand Slam semi-finals berth of her career.

Frenchwoman Bartoli made a bright enough start to open up a 3-1 lead in the first set, but she was unable to cope with the Russian's power when she suddenly raised her game.

Seventh seed Zvonareva went on to register an easy victory in just 68 minutes with a performance that even she was unable to explain.

"I don't know what happened," Zvonareva said.

"Marion was playing really well in the beginning and I made a few unforced errors, so that's why I think I was down 3-1.

"Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors and I was able to keep a good level of play throughout the whole match."

Despite being a consistent top-10 player, Zvonareva has a modest record at the Grand Slams and the only time previous time she had made it past the fourth round was at the 2003 French Open, when she made the quarter-finals.

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However, the 24-year-old has been in career-best form in Melbourne this year, winning all of her matches in straight sets, to emerge as a contender for the first Grand Slam of the year.

"I'm pretty confident in myself. If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it," she said.

"I think I played very good tennis. I think Marion's been playing very good as well, but I was able to play a very clean match today. That's what made the difference."

Bartoli, a Wimbledon finalist two years ago, had also been in great touch this past week, beating world number one Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round.

The 16th seed is recognised as one of the hardest hitters in women's tennis but admitted she had no answer to Zvonareva's power.

"I don't think I put in a bad performance," Bartoli said. "She was just coming every time with a better shot to my shot.

"Sometimes you have to accept someone is just better than you.

"She just played unbelievably well. It seemed like she was reading my game like a book.

"If she keeps playing like this, she can definitely win this tournament."

Zvonareva is one of four Russian women still in contention for the title and will face either countrywoman Dinara Safina or Australia's Jelena Dokic in Thursday's semi-finals.

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