Three of the four semifinalists at the 2010 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open have not only won a title at a Grand Slam tournament, but they have also spent time ranked No. 1 in the World.
Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova will bring their lengthy resumes into this weekend’s action along with 19-year-old Russian rising star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Clijsters owns a pair of US Open titles, and spent 19 weeks at No. 1.
Ivanovic won the 2008 French Open, and was No. 1 for 12 weeks.
Sharapova spent 17 weeks ranked No. 1, and has won a title at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
While Pavlyuchenkova doesn’t have the same kind of history on her side, she comes on riding a hot streak, having won her last nine matches.
Clijsters will face off against Ivanovic in the first semifinal, which will begin at 1 p.m. The night semifinal will be an all-Russian affair between Sharapova and Pavlyuchenkova.
The defending US Open champion, Clijsters is bidding for her third title of 2010. The former World No. 1 has already won titles this year in Brisbane and Miami.
Ivanovic is playing her third semifinal of 2010. She is looking to reach her first final since Indian Wells in 2009, and is seeking her first title since Linz in October 2008.
Clijsters won the only previous meeting between the two, which came at Antwerp in 2007.
Pavlyuchenkova, has a Tour-leading 26 match wins on hard courts in 2010 (26-7), boasts the second-longest active winning streak on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. She has won nine straight matches, including a tournament title in Istanbul a few weeks ago. Agnes Szavay, who is not playing Cincinnati, has won 10 consecutive matches, which is the longest active streak.
Sharapova is making her Cincinnati debut. With her win Friday, she moves to the lead of the Olympus US Open Series standings. Sharapova is looking to reach her fifth final of 2010. She has won two titles this season.
This will be the first meeting between Pavyluchenkova and Sharapova.