Serena fights into final

Baghdatis edges Hewitt to set up title clash with Fish

 
The Australian Open champion was teetering on the brink of defeat after losing the first set and trailing 5-2 in the second but she raised her game to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. "I was lucky to get through today," American Williams told reporters. "I'm just super mentally tough, I feel like that's definitely one of my strengths."

While Williams had to dig deep, Dementieva had no real problems winning her semifinal against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Dementieva cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory at the Olympic tennis centre to remain on course to defend her title.

"I was trying to be very aggressive from the beginning of the match," Dementieva said.
Williams was well below her best against Rezai but used all her big-match experience to turn things around in an ominous sign of her intentions before next week's Australian Open.

"I felt like I literally lifted my game at that point, because I knew I was gonna be headed to Melbourne if I didn't," the world number one said. France were at least assured of a place in the men's final after Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau won their last-eight matches.

Gasquet, who resumed playing this month after being cleared over a positive cocaine test, defeated Italy's Potito Starace 6-3, 7-6 and Benneteau beat Leonardo Mayer of Argentina 6-4, 6-7, 6-0.

"I had so many things very hard to do last year, so now I play for fun," Gasquet said." Former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus also reached the semifinals by beating Australian Lleyton Hewitt 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

He meets American Mardy Fish who overcame Australia's Peter Luczak 7-6, 6-2.  Anabel enters semis Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues recovered from a loss of concentration on Thursday to secure her place in the semifinals of the Hobart International, one of the last events before the Australian Open.

The top seed defeated Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 to set up a meeting with Alona Bondarenko on Friday after the Ukrainian fourth seed defeated China's Zheng Jie 7-5, 7-5.

Unseeded Sara Errani of Italy also progressed to the last four by beating Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-3, 6-4. Errani will play second seed Shahar Peer after the Israeli beat Spanish fifth seed Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 7-6, 7-5.

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