Gold Coast, January 4:

Top-seeded Martina Hingis advanced to the Australian Women’s Hardcourt Championships semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Catalina Castano of Colombia today.

Hingis, who used this tournament last year to launch her comeback after three years off the tour, will play Italian Tathiana Garbin in the final four.

Garbin beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-5, 6-2. Second-seeded Russian Dinara Safina beat Australia’s Samantha Stosur 7-6 (4), 6-3 to advance to the other semi-final against Israel’s Shahar Peer, who beat fellow teenager Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Hingis, now ranked seventh in the world, said the young players in the semi-finals were a positive sign for the WTA Tour.