Ivanovic through to semis

Second seed Ana Ivanovic brushed aside the challenge of Kurumi Nara to seal her spot in the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland.

The Serbian recovered from a break down in the first set to beat her Japanese opponent 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes to set up a showdown with her doubles partner Kirsten Flipkens.

Ivanovic said after her victory on "Obviously I'm very thrilled to be through to the semi-finals.

"It was a really tough match. The score doesn't really indicate how close it was. I was really surprised by her game - she played really well today, I thought. But I was really happy I managed to close it out in straight sets."

Next up for Ivanovic is Belgian third seed Flipkens, who eased past another Japanese player, qualifier Sachie Ishizu, 6-4 7-5.

Ivanovic and Flipkens are good friends and have also competed in the doubles in Auckland, where they were beaten at the quarter-final stage by Lucie Hradecka and Michaella Krajicek.

The other semi-final pits Venus Williams against her fellow American Jamie Hampton.

Williams had few problems seeing off Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-3 but fifth seed Hampton was taken the distance by compatriot Lauren Davis before recording a 6-2 4-6 6-4 triumph.