Top seeds Pavlyuchenkova, Knapp move into Baku Cup semis

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) To take their seeded place in the Baku Cup final, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia and Karin Knapp of Italy will have to pass two first-time semifinalists on the WTA tour.

No. 1-seeded Pavlyuchenkova defeated Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Friday, saving all four break chances she faced, while No. 2-seeded Knapp beat Alexandra Panova of Russia 6-2, 7-6 (4) to even their head-to-head at 2-2.

Pavlyuchenkova will meet Patricia Maria Tig of Romania, who stymied the only break chance Donna Vekic had, and beat the Croatian 6-3, 6-2.

Knapp faces Margarita Gasparyan, who won an all-Russian quarterfinal with Evgeniya Rodina 6-3, 6-2. Gasparyan is one of Russia's biggest hopes, and has come on this year with four ITF circuit titles in France, Russia, and Slovakia, and qualified for her first French Open and Wimbledon.

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