sport

Stephens beats fellow American

Eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens is through to the Hobart International semi-finals with a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over fellow American and qualifier Lauren Davis.

Stephens will play Elena Vesnina of Russia in one of Friday's semi-finals. Vesnina played better in windy conditions Thursday to beat wild-card entry Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 6-3 6-2.

"I had to be smart and in the wind you have to use it like a weapon," Vesnina said.

Ninth-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-3 6-3 and will face the winner of Thursday night's quarter-final between Monica Niculescu of Romania and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

The 22-year-old Barthel said she's "improved a lot" as she begins her second season on the WTA Tour.

"I feel like I learned so much last year, playing all these tournaments and playing against the top players," Barthel said.

"My serve has got better and I feel like my groundstrokes are better ... but maybe a little more confidence this year."