SYDNEY (AFP) - Petra Kvitova despatched protecting champion Angelique Kerber packing from the rain-affected Sydney international Thursday to book a semi-final spot and get an aspect over her rival heading into the Australian Open subsequent week.

It became always going to be a tight match with the pair tied 6-6 in 12 previous meetings.

Play changed into suspended early in the first set due to rain.

. They lower back numerous hours later however the drizzle soon began falling again and it was again to the locker room for the two event drawcards.

They subsequently resumed at 10:30pm and Czech fifth seed Kvitova, who won the title in 2015, took rate, speedy racing thru the primary set to place the German world number at the back foot.

Kvitova saved the pressure on and got a critical smash in game 4 of the second set and there has been no way back for Kerber who meekly surrendered 6-four, 6-1.

"The weather has no longer been incredible and it s no longer clean to wait within the locker room, but i was glad I could come returned out and play so properly," Kvitova said after attaining the semi-finals in Sydney for a fourth time.

Her reward is a conflict with Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who beat Switzerland s Timea Bacsinszky -- at the comeback trail after a 14-month winless spell -- 6-three, 6-3.

Australia s Ashleigh Barty accompanied up her large-killing wins over international number one Simona Halep and former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko by means of effortlessly accounting for tenth seeded Belgian Elise Mertens 6-three, 6-three.

The 22-12 months-antique is now on a six-match win streak, courting returned to her profession s largest title on the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai.

"pleasant and stable nowadays, i used to be quite happy on the way i used to be capable of pop out and play," said Barty, ranked 15 within the world.

she will play seventh seed Kiki Bertens who blasted past Yulia Putintseva 6-2, 6-2 for an area within the very last.

inside the guys s draw, veteran Andreas Seppi derailed top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas  title hopes.

Seppi, 14 years older than his 20-year-old Greek opponent, has handiest won three ATP titles in his profession, but called on all his enjoy as he battled back for a gutsy 4-6, 6-four, 6-4 win.

"For a few motive I continually play my pleasant tennis in Australia, so I honestly experience being here," stated Seppi, who broke immediately inside the 2nd set after dropping the primary.

"It changed into very vital to begin well within the 2nd set. Exact to have an early smash so I should play a chunk extra competitive and it labored out ultimately."

Australia has been a domestic faraway from domestic for the Italian in recent years.

In a trio of round-of-sixteen appearances on the Australian Open, he pulled off upsets against Marin Cilic in 2013, Roger Federer in 2015 and Nick Kyrgios in 2017.

Defeat become a blow for global No.15 Tsitsipas  arrangements for the outlet Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne next week.

He was one in every of the sport s maximum progressed players closing yr, climbing from ninety one after accomplishing finals in Barcelona and Toronto, losing both to Rafael Nadal, and turned into angling for the ideal begin in advance of the Australian Open.

Seppi will now play 1/3 seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had to combat difficult to overcome eastern qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, three-6, 7-6 (7/1)

In different sector-very last movement, 5th seeded youngster Alex De Minaur endured his robust begin to the season with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.