Venus Williams set to play Ana Ivanovic in ASB Classic final
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- Venus Williams advanced to the ASB Classic final in Auckland on a walkover when fellow American Jamie Hampton withdrew from their semifinal Friday with a right hip injury. Second-seeded Ana Ivanovic turned Saturday's final into a match between former world No. 1s when she beat third-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 7-6 (3).
Williams has been struggling with injuries and is playing her first tournament since September.
The ASB Classic will be her first final since she captured the title in Luxembourg in October 2012.
Ivanovic, who won the most recent of her 11 WTA singles titles in 2011, has the chance to carry considerable momentum into the Australian Open later this month if she can maintain her current form.
She swept through the first set of the semifinal in only 21 minutes, breaking Flipkens in the first, third and fifth games.
''In the first set I didn't do much wrong and in the second set we were both serving really well,'' Ivanovic said. ''I'm just really happy that I kept calm in the tiebreak and played some really good tennis.''
On the men's side in Brisbane, second-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan reached the semifinals with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win over Marin Cilic of Croatia and will next meet former No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, who cruised past Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-4, 6-2.
At the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, France clinched a place in Saturday's final against Poland by beating winless Spain.
Alize Cornet overcame left hamstring soreness to beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-2, 6-2 before Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sealed the victory by defeating 194th-ranked Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-2.
The United States takes on Czech Republic in a night match.
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