Schiavone outlasts Jankovic in quarters

Third-seeded Francesca Schiavone saved two match points before coming back for a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic to reach the semifinals at the Brisbane International on Thursday.

Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner, saved match points on her serve in the 12th game of the second set and then, after winning the tiebreaker and going down a break in the third set, won the last five games to clinch the quarterfinal in just under three hours on her third match point.

Schiavone will meet Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who needed five match points to finish off a 6-1, 7-6 (7) upset of second-seeded Andrea Petkovic.

Petkovic struggled with a sore back and it hampered her serve in the first set, but the 2011 finalist rallied to force a tiebreaker and push Kanepi to the end.

”I just played really bad in the first set,” Petkovic said. ”My footwork was very sloppy, and afterwards I started moving a little better, but when somebody is hitting as hard as Kaia — and she was serving incredible — then you really have to be on point with your footwork.

”She played really, really well and I have to say, if she keeps playing like this she’ll be a force.”

Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters will be aiming to beat Iveta Benesova in a night match to advance to a semifinal against Daniela Hantuchova, who got a walkover in the quarterfinals when 13-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament on Wednesday after injuring her left ankle.

In the men’s draw, second-seeded Gilles Simon of France advanced with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia.

Simon will next play the winner of the quarterfinal between Russia’s Alexandr Dolgopolov and former champion Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic.