Kvitova lines up Buzarnescu meeting in Birmingham semis


BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Petra Kvitova, who hopes a successful title defense at the Birmingham Classic will help her bid to win Wimbledon for a third time, moved into the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Julia Goerges on Friday.

The fourth-seeded Kvitova took an hour and six minutes to dispatch an opponent who reached the top 10 for the first time last month, and is one of three players to have hit 400 aces in a season.

“I was very pleased with everything,” Kvitova said. “I knew how well she can play, even when she is down.”

The Czech player’s display underlined an impression that she is performing at a significantly higher level than when she won the Birmingham grasscourt event a year ago, after returning from a serious hand injury inflicted by a burglar.

Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, next plays the unseeded Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, who defeated Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2.

Buzarnescu dedicated the victory to her family and coaching team, those close to her who believed she could rescue her career after two knee surgeries, and twice being sidelined for more than two years.

“Everyone else said, no chance, don’t play, give up. But they said, you can try one more time,” she explained.

Buzarnescu, who also beat Svitolina in the French Open three weeks ago, has won more matches (82) than any other player since she recovered from her latest knee operation a year ago.

Second seed Svitolina needed an injury timeout at the end of the first set because of a troublesome thumb.

Barbora Strycova, the feisty grasscourt expert who ousted Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza on Thursday, was leading 7-5 3-0 when Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko retired with a painful left hip.

The unseeded Strycova next plays Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova, who was the Birmingham champion nine years ago and a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year.

Rybarikova, who is also unseeded, swept past Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic 6-2 6-4.

Landmark win as Djokovic reaches Queen’s semis

LONDON (AP) — Novak Djokovic became the 10th man to register 800 victories since the Open Era began in 1968 when he beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 on Friday to reach the Queen’s Club semifinals.

Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, follows in the footsteps of Jimmy Connors (1,256), Roger Federer (1,156), Ivan Lendl (1,068), Guillermo Vilas (949), Rafael Nadal (903), John McEnroe (881), Andre Agassi (870), Ilie Nastase (846) and Stefan Edberg (801).

The 31-year-old Serb will meet Jeremy Chardy or Frances Tiafoe after qualifying for only his second semifinal since last year’s Eastbourne Championship.

Top-seeded Marin Cilic also went through with a 7-6 (3) 6-2 win over 2010 champion Sam Querrey.

Cilic next faces Nick Kyrgios, who eliminated defending champion Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).

The Croatian player hit 10 aces and dropped only three points on his first serve against American Querrey. He didn’t give him a break point chance, and broke twice.

Kyrgios again served 32 aces against Lopez, as he did in beating Kyle Edmund on Thursday, matching his personal best.