Marion Bartoli into semi-finals at Eastbourne in quick time

Reigning champion Marion Bartoli moved into the semi-finals of the AEGON International at Eastbourne yesterday with a 6-4 6-2 victory over Czech seventh seed Lucie Safarova.

Fourth seed Bartoli took 73 minutes to complete her victory, breaking twice in an opening set in which she struggled to hold serve herself, and twice again in the second in which she faced no break points.

“So far I’m able to play well and to stay consistent into my matches, which is really important on grass,” Bartoli said at the Wimbledon warm-up event.

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Bartoli will play Austrian Tamira Paszek in the last four after the world No 40 pulled off a slightly surprising 6-0 6-4 win over Bulgaria’s former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsvetana Pironkova.

German ninth seed Angelique Kerber beat 2010 champion Elena Makarova of Russia 6-2 6-4 and will play Klara Zakopalova after the Czech beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 7-5.

Kerber took the opening set and pulled ahead 3-1 in the second when play at Eastbourne was again suspended because of rain.

When it resumed two hours and 40 minutes later, Makarova held serve and then earned two break points. Kerber fought off the threat and went on to reach her seventh semi-final of the year.

“I was a little bit nervous, but I just tried to focus on me, tried to make my game plan and to play until the end,” Kerber said. “I’m happy to manage this and go out there after the rain delay and win the match.”

The men’s quarter-finals – including Andy Roddick’s match with Fabio Fognini – were all postponed until today after rain washed out yesterday’s remaining matches.

In Den Bosch in the Netherlands, meanwhile, David Ferrer crushed Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-0, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Unicef Open.

The top-seeded Spaniard needed just 43 minutes to rout Sijsling, allowing his opponent to win only one game in front of the home crowd at the grass court tournament.

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Ferrer will next play Benoit Paire of France, who beat Ito Tatsuma of Japan 6-3, 7-5.

Philipp Petzschner of Germany and Xavier Malisse of Belgium will meet in the second semi-final match.

On the women’s side, Kim Clijsters of Belgium beat the 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 7-6 (7) in a match that was held up by rain.

It was Clijsters’ third win of the tournament, giving the Belgium player a boost after she’s been out of play most of the season due to injuries. She next meet Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who defeated Solia Arvidsson of Sweden, 6-2, 7-6 (3).

“It was a very intense match. Schiavone is a player who keeps fighting and has all sorts of different strokes,” Clijsters said.