Barty downs Venus to reach semis at Birmingham

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of Birmingham Classic, while Sofia Kenin outclassed Elise Mertens 1-6, 6-1, 6-3, to enter the semifinals at the Mallorca Open.

Ashleigh Barty broke Venus Williams twice in the second set to serve for the match.   -  Getty Images

World no 2 Ashleigh Barty beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinal of the Birmingham Classic on Friday.

The reigning French Open champion moved close to become world number one spot in the WTA rankings after Naomi Osaka lost to Yulia Putintseva in the second round of the Mallorca Open on Thursday.

Venus Williams started the match brightly as she led the first set at 4-1, but Barty took the next five games to win the set. Venus broke Barty's first serve of the second set but the Australian broke back twice to serve for the match and set up a semifinal clash with Barbora Strycova.

Strycova beat Kristyna Pliskova 6-2, 6-4 in the first match of the day, while former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was beaten by Croatia's Petra Martic 7-6(4), 5-7, 1-6.

-Mallorca Open-

Reigning Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber beat sixth seed Caroline Garcia 6-3 7-6(5) to reach the semifinals of the Mallorca Open on Friday.

The 31-year-old German showed no signs of the ankle injury that dogged her claycourt season as she ended Garcia's seven-match winning run.

USA's Sofia Kenin came back strongly against Elise Merten to win 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 semifinals of Mallorca Open while Belinda Bencic recorded a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova.

Second seed Anastasijia Sevastova cruised to the semifinal with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Yafan Wang to set up a semis clash with Sofia Kenin.

(With inputs from Reuters)