Dementieva fights way into Stuttgart semis

STUTTGART: Olympic champion Elena Dementieva on Friday booked her place in the semi-finals of Stuttgart's WTA tournament with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over France's Marion Bartoli.

The second-seeded Russian needed two hours and 17 minutes to see off Bartoli who fought her way back after a slow start to threaten the gold-medal winner from Beijing.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, I feel like I am really playing much better," said Dementieva, ranked third in the world.

"Marion is a good player and she served well all game, it was an emotional match for both of us.

"I am pleased just to have got through it."

Having needed just 30 minutes to win the first set 6-2 with ease, Dementieva found she had a fight on her hands in the second when Bartoli, ranked 13th in the world, took the set 6-4 in 56 minutes.

But the French player faltered in the third when she was immediately broken as Dementieva powered into a 4-0 lead, only for Bartoli to come back to 4-3, but the Russian won the next two games to take the third 6-3.

Dementieva will face either third-seed Jelena Jankovic or Italy's Flavia Pennetta in Saturday's semi-final.

In Friday's other quarter-finals, fifth-seed Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova faces Argentina's Gisela Dulko and world number one Dinara Safina plays Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska.