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Sasnovich, Barty ease into Sydney semis

The Associated Press

Ashleigh Barty hits a forehand to Elise Mertens during their women’s match at the Sydney International on Thursday.

The Associated PressSYDNEY (AP) — Aliaksandra Sasnovich’s impressive start to the season continued on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Timea Bacsinszky to advance to the Sydney International semifinals.

The No. 33-ranked Sasnovich, who made it to the quarterfinals last week in Brisbane, was in control most of the way to beat the Swiss 6-3, 6-3.

Sasnovich is set to face off against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber for a spot in the final.

Kvitova and Kerber played later Thursday.

Ashleigh Barty, who beat top-seeded Simon Halep on Wednesday, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Elise Mertens, breaking the Belgian player’s serve six times.

“I thought it was a little bit of a slow start, but it was good to get the ball rolling mid to late in that first set,” Barty said.

Barty will meet Yulia Putintseva or Kiki Bertens in the semifinals.

In men’s quarterfinals action, eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi upset top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and No. 3 Diego Schwartzman beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1).

Kohlschreiber rolls at ASB

AUCKLAND (AP) — Former champion Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany defeated second-seeded Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the ASB Classic in New Zealand.

Unseeded Kohlschreiber, who won the tournament in 2008, marked his 12th visit to Auckland with a win over Fognini in only 64 minutes.

Fognini called for the trainer at one point, and in the second set he made little effort to resist Kohlschreiber’s progress to his sixth win over the Italian in eight meetings.

“After a tough preseason it’s always great to start a new season and to find the right rhythm,” Kohlschreiber said. “For me [Fognini] is an entertaining guy and you never know what to expect.”

Djokovic, Halep top Aussie seeds

MELBOURNE (AP) — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, as expected, were given the No. 1 seedings on Thursday when the Australian Open announced its singles seedings list.

Defending champion Roger Federer is seeded No. 3 after Rafael Nadal, while women’s defending singles champion Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Halep in last year’s final at Melbourne Park, is No. 3 behind second-seeded and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2017 while pregnant with daughter Alexis Olympia, returns as the 16th-seeded player after missing last year’s tournament.

Fifth-ranked Juan Martin del Potro will miss the Australian Open while he recovers from a fractured right kneecap.

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