Barthel leads unheralded quartet into Bastad semis

07/18/2014 10:47 AM

07/18/2014 10:52 AM

Bastad, Sweden ( - Mona Barthel, Chanelle Scheepers, Jana Cepelova and Silvia Soler-Espinosa were quarterfinal winners Friday at the Swedish Open.

The unheralded foursome has combined for three WTA titles -- two for Barthel and one for Scheepers. Cepelova and Soler-Espinosa have each previously played in one title match.

It's been an upset-filled tournament, as each of the eight quarterfinalists were unseeded players.

Barthel topped the most-decorated of the eight, four-time WTA Tour winner Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) triumph. The 24-year-old German is trying to win a tournament for the third straight year, her last title coming at the Paris Indoors in February 2013.

Next up for Barthel will be Soler-Espinosa, who advanced Friday with a 6-3, 6-2 rout of Russia's Alexandra Panova. The 26-year-old Spaniard reached the Strasbourg final earlier this year, losing to Monica Puig.

Scheepers needed three sets to dispose of Spain's Lara Arruabarrena, claiming a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 victory to earn her second semifinal appearance of 2014. She lost to Jelena Jankovic in Bogota back in April.

The 30-year-old veteran from South Africa won her lone WTA Tour title back in 2011 at Guangzhou. She'll face Cepelova in the semis after the 21-year-old from Slovakia dumped Kazakhstan qualifier Yulia Putintseva with a 6-4, 7-5 triumph in the final quarterfinal on Friday.

Cepelova's best previous finish came in April with a loss to Andrea Petkovic in the final at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. She stunned Serena Williams in the second round of that tournament en route to the title match.

The loss to Petkovic in the Charleston final started a downward spiral for Cepelova, who then fell in the first round in each of her next five events. She stopped that slide with this week's run.

Sunday's champion will earn a first prize of $43,000.

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