Flipkens, Niculescu and Pironkova through to Hobart quarters

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The Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, who is ranked at 51, took on the Serbian Bojana Jovanovski, who is ranked at 56, for a place in the semi finals at the Moorilla Hobart International on Wednesday. Flipkens is a wily all court player with great hands at the net and a good serve, while Jovanovski hits the ball with tremendous power from the baseline, much like the other Serbian players. In much cooler conditions than in previous days, it was thought that two closely ranked players would put on a good fight, but Flipkens ran out an easy winner with a 6-3 6-2 scoreline in just under one hour.

In another match featuring two unseeded players, Shuai Peng of China met Monica Niculescu of Romania. Peng is ranked at 55 while Niculescu is at 54. This was a much more interesting match which went the distance. Peng won the first set, 6-3 but Niculescu managed to get the break to take the second set 6-4 and force a deciding set, which she took by the same margin, 6-4, to move into the semi finals where she will meet Flipkens. These two players have never met before.

In a major upset, the unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, ranked at 39, hung in a tight three setter to take out the tournament’s number 3 seed and world number 23 Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, who has been playing well at the beginning of the 2013 season. Zakopalova took the first set 6-3, but Pironkova won the second and third 6-4 6-2 to head into the semis, where she will face off against Mona Barthel of Germany, the tournament’s 9th and only remaining seed.

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