LONDON, June 17 (AFP): Australian Samantha Stosur will play an Eastbourne grasscourt semi-final for the second straight year after upsetting top seed Vera Zvonareva 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 on Thursday at the pre-Wimbledon event.
Stosur looked like going down to Zvonareva before a recovery to win the second-set in a tiebreaker and a 4-0 start in the third.
With the former Roland Garros finalist serving for victory, her game wobbled, with Zvonareva earning a break for 3-5. Stosur steadied to finally clinch it.
Seventh seed Stosur will play Marion Bartoli after the French sixth seed advanced when number three Victoria Azarenka retired hurt for the fourth time since March to hand over a 6-2, 2-0 win to Bartoli, who lost the 2007 Wimbledon final to Venus Williams.
Venus had earlier Thursday fallen to Daniela Hantuchova who was finally triumphing after 10 losses in her career series with Venus.
The Slovak, who had previously won just two sets against the American, secured a gritty 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 quarter-final victory to send Venus out a day after her sister Serena lost to Zvonareva.
With matches ducking moving rainshowers, the women�s semi-finals were set with the Wimbledon start now just four days away.
Hantuchova faces Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova a winner over Pole Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2).
Williams meanwhile, heads to London satisfied with her comeback week after missing five months with an abdominal injury. She joined her sister Serena - victim of Zvonareva in the second round - in making a re-emergence onto the WTA circuit.
Serena returned after almost a year off court due to two operations on a cut foot last year and surgery in February to remove blood clots from her lungs.