Three of the four semi-finalists at the 2010 WTA Tour's Cincinnati Open have not only won a title at a Grand Slam tournament, but they have also spent time ranked as number one in the world.
Kim Clijsters of Belgium, Serb Ana Ivanovic and Russian Maria Sharapova will bring distinguished playing records into this weekend's last four action, along with a new face - 19-year-old Russian rising star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In the quarter-finals on Friday (August 13th), unseeded Pavlyuchenkova defeated Belgian 12th seed Yanina Wickmayer 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; Ivanovic, also not seeded, beat Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-1, 6-3; fourth-seeded Clijsters saw off the Italian 11th seed Flavia Pennetta 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 while 10th seed Sharapova knocked out Marion Bartoli, the 16th seed from France, 6-1, 6-4.
The quarter-finals of the WTA Tour's Cincinnati Open - and 19-year-old Russian rising star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova displayed the temperament of a veteran to beat Belgian 12th seed Yanina Wickmayer.
She was 5-1 down in the first set but saved three set points to rally back superbly, winning six successive games - and there was an almost identical start to the second with Wickmayer going 5-0 up before Pavlyuchenkova again battled back, before the Belgian forced it into a decider.
Buoyed by her spirited resilience, the teenager powered through the third to take her place in the last four.
However, the other three semi-finalists at the event have not only won a title at a Grand Slam tournament, but they have also spent time ranked as number one in the world.
Ana Ivanovic will meet Kim Clijsters in the Cincinnati Open semi-finals after progressing comfortably at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on Friday.
The Serbian former world number one, looking in-form and confident, comfortably defeated Uzbek qualifier Akgul Amanmuradova 6-1, 6-3 to reach only her second semi-final of the year.
The unseeded Ivanovic, who had also reached the last four in the Italian Open in Rome, won 22 of 24 first service points and looked composed throughout the game.
Meanwhile, Clijsters, who is preparing to defend her U.S. Open crown later this month, was pushed all the way by 11th seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta before clinching a hard-fought 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 victory.