Palermo: Top-seeded Flavia Pennetta defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to reach her second semifinal of the season at the SNAI Open.
The 21st-ranked Italian, who won the event in 2009 and was runner-up last year, will play Polona Hercog of Slovenia, who earned her first career title in Bastad, Sweden, last week.
Four-time champion Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic also reached the semifinals.
Pennetta lost her opening service game against Pironkova but quickly started to dominate the match.
Pennetta broke the 49th-ranked Bulgarian three times to take the first set. She added two more breaks in the second and closed out the win when Pironkova netted a forehand.
The 20-year-old Hercog extended her winning streak on the WTA circuit to eight matches by routing fourth-seeded Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1. Hercog converted six of her seven break points.
Medina Garrigues defeated Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-2, 1-6, 6-0. The 39th-ranked Spaniard, who lost to Begu in the semifinals in Budapest, Hungary last week, wrapped up the victory on her second match point.
Medina Garrigues will next face the 62nd-ranked Cetkovska, who rallied to edge the third-seeded 2008 champion Sara Errani 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (4) and reach her first career semifinal.