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Top seeds advance at Lexus of Las Vegas Open

It hasn’t been easy, but form held up at this year’s Lexus of Las Vegas Open tennis tournament as the top four seeds advanced to today’s semifinals at Red Rock Country Club.

Edina Gallovits, the No. 1 seed, had to battle in Friday’s quarterfinals before finally defeating eighth-seeded Valerie Tetrault, 6-2, 4-6, 6-0. Gallovits will face fellow Romanian Sorana Cirstea at noon after the third-seeded Cirstea ousted Lauren Albanese, 6-2, 6-3.

Today’s other semifinal has second-seeded Varvara Lepchenko facing No. 4 Mirjana Lucic. Lepchenko outlasted sixth-seeded Anna Tatishvili 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (7-5), 6-3 Friday. Lucic advanced with a 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 win over Abigail Spears.

“It’s a little unusual, but I think it’s great for the fans that the top four seeds are still playing,” Gallovits said. “All of us are playing well, and I think it will make for an entertaining weekend.”

Gallovits, who at No. 80 in the world is the highest-ranked player at the tournament, started strong Friday. But Tetrault got her game untracked early in the second set, breaking Gallovits at 1-1. She went on to win the set and force Gallovits, who was playing on a heavily taped right ankle, to work harder than she had hoped to.

“Every point was important,” said Gallovits, who got up an early break in the deciding set and survived being broken back at 2-0. “She was playing better, but when I was able to make her run, I was able to win a lot of the points.”

Cirstea had no such troubles in defeating Albanese, who was celebrating her 21st birthday. She used a wicked forehand to stymie Albanese, and Cirstea’s return game was strong throughout.

“I felt like I raised my game against her, and I was able to handle her serve,” Cirstea said.

Contact sports reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or at 702-387-2913.

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