Serena, Wozniacki reach Auckland semifinals

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Top-seed Serena Williams struggled with a swirling breeze before beating Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-3 Friday to reach the semifinals of the ASB Classic.

As was the case with her three-set win over Christina McHale in the second round, Williams was never fully in control of the match. She came from a break down in the second set to win in just under 90 minutes.

But she was able to step up at crucial times. Williams had five break point chances and converted three. Siegemund had seven and converted one.

Siegemund, who beat American teenager Coco Gauff in the second round, stretched Williams with her variety and placement but couldn’t match Williams’ power from the baseline.

“She was an incredibly tricky player and the conditions really didn’t help,” Williams said. “But, oh my God, it’s good to get through that.

“The body’s feeling great. I came in here before the tournament last year and said I wanted to play singles and doubles here. So I’m happy, I knew what I was going to be up against and I’m happy to still be in the tournament.”

Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over two-time defending champion Julia Goerges of Germany.

“I’ve had so many tough matches against Julia in the past and I knew this one was going to be tough as well,” Wozniacki said. “I’ve been serving well this week so hopefully it can continue.”

Wozniacki’s semifinal opponent will be Jessica Pegula of the United States who beat Alize Cornet of France 6-0, 3-2. Cornet was forced to withdraw with a thigh muscle strain.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.