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Lucie Safarova wins Prague Open for 7th career WTA title

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PRAGUE (AP) Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic came from a set down to win the Prague Open, overcoming Sam Stosur of Australia 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the final on Saturday.

Safarova broke Stosur for 4-3 in the final set and served out with her 14th ace to claim her seventh WTA title, and first in 14 months. She improved her record against Stosur to 11-3.

“It was a big fight,” Safarova said. “It’s always tough against her. I was waiting for my chance and it came in the second set.”

Coming back from a bacterial infection last year, Safarova, the French Open runner-up last year, didn’t win a singles this season until this week in Prague, where she won five in a row.

In the opening set, Stosur got a break for 2-0 and held on, saving one break point at 4-2 before serving it out.

But she struggled with her serve in the remaining two sets, serving seven double faults. She didn’t look disappointed after the final.

“I still had a pretty good week,” the 2011 U.S. Open champion said.

Safarova broke Stosur to go 2-0 up in the second set after the Australian double-faulted on a break point, and got another break for 4-0 with a forehand winner.

Stan Wawrinka advances to Australian Open semifinals

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U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka is through to the Australian Open semifinals after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-3 at Rod Laver Arena.

Wawrinka will play the winner of the night quarterfinal between Roger Federer and Mischa Zverev.

It was Wawrinka’s fourth win in a row over Tsonga and the first meeting between the pair at a Grand Slam other than the French Open, where they had met three times, with Wawrinka holding a 2-1 edge.

It was also the pair’s first meeting on a hardcourt in nearly 10 years — at Metz, France in 2007, when Tsonga won.

Venus Williams sets Australian record with run to semifinals

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Age appears to be no barrier for Venus Williams.

The 36-year-old Williams beat No. 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday, becoming the oldest player to reach the Australian Open women’s semifinals in the Open era.

Her 50th career win at Melbourne Park earned her a spot in the last four for the first time in 14 years.

“It’s wonderful to start the year out with this appearance,” said Williams, who hadn’t reached the semifinals here since 2003, the year she lost the final to her sister, Serena. “I want to go further. I’m not happy just with this. But I’m so happy to be in the position to like go further.”

She will next play CoCo Vandeweghe, who is in the Australian Open semifinals for the first time.

I’m just so excited that I have an opportunity to play again,” Williams said. “That’s all I’m focused on.”

Williams dropped four service games against Pavlyuchenkova, but she responded each time by breaking back. In the tiebreaker, she trailed 3-1 before winning the last six points – clinching the match on Pavlyuchenkova’s double-fault.

The seven-time major winner has advanced through the tournament without dropping a set, recovering from a right elbow injury that forced her to withdraw from a warmup tournament in New Zealand.

Now she is into semifinals for the second time in three majors – after a six-year absence from the last four – and for the 21st time overall.

With her run to the Wimbledon semifinals last year, Williams became the oldest woman since Martina Navratilova in 1994 to advance so far at a major. Navratilova was 37, years 258 days at the end of Wimbledon that year.

The record belongs to Billie Jean King, who was 39 years, 223 days when she reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1983.