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Sabine Lisicki beats Zheng Saisai in WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open

Sabine Lisicki progressed to the last four of WTA Hong Kong Tennis Open on Friday with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Zheng Saisai.

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As top seed for the WTA International hard-court event, Lisicki had to come from a set down in her first-round clash with Monica Niculescu, before coming through in straight sets against Grace Min in round two.

Friday's last-eight encounter with Zheng was similarly straightforward, as the German sealed her progress in 90 minutes.

Lisicki took a 3-0 lead in the opening set and managed to keep Zheng at bay by showing strength on her second serve, winning 66 per cent of points to Zheng's 42.

Despite three double faults in the second set, Lisicki continued to put pressure on the Zheng serve and broke twice - in games five and seven - for a 5-2 advantage.

Although the Chinese saved a match point and then broke back, Lisicki responded immediately and set up a semi-final clash with Francesca Schiavone, who knocked out seventh seed Jana Cepelova 6-2 6-2.

The Italian was dominant throughout, breaking Cepelova on five occasions and sending down seven aces to her opponent's two on her way to victory in less than an hour and a quarter.

The other last-four encounter will see Karolina Pliskova go head to head with Alison Van Uytvanck, after the pair saw off Zheng Jie and Jarmila Gajdosova respectively.

Third seed Pliskova made a blistering start to her match with Zheng Jie, romping into a 5-0 lead before wrapping up the opening set in just 24 minutes, having won 83 per cent of points on her first serve.

Pliskova got off to an ideal start in the second set, too, breaking her opponent in the first game before further breaks in games seven and nine saw her through to the last four.

She will now face Van Uytvanck, who eased past Australian qualifier Gajdosova 6-4 6-2.

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