Tauziat and Pierce advance

Top-seeded Mary Pierce of France, seeking her second consecutive title on the WTA Tour, defeated former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany.

Top-seeded Mary Pierce of France, seeking her second consecutive title on the WTA Tour, defeated former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez of Spain 6-2, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany.

Pierce will be looking to reach her fifth final of the year when she plays qualifier Kveta Hrdlickova in the semi-finals on Saturday.

By winning the Austrian Open last week, the sixth-ranked Pierce ended a 12th-month drought without a title. She crushed Martinez with her powerful ground strokes, winning 6-2, 6-2.

Hrdlickova of the Czech Republic, ranked No 67 in the world, beat wild card Sabine Appelmans of Belgian, who is the world No 38, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5).

Second-seeded Nathalie Tauziat became the second French player to reach the last four of the $520,000 event when she outlasted fifth-seeded Anna Kournikova of Russia 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.

Tauziat, who won the Moscow tournament two weeks ago, was a finalist in Leipzig last year, losing to the now retired Steffi Graf.

In the semi-finals, Tauziat will play Germany's Anke Huber, the No 8 seed, who beat Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France, 6-4, 6-4.

Quarter-final results (seedings in brackets):

Nathalie Tauziat (2), France, def. Anna Kournikova (5), Russia, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.

Mary Pierce (1), France, def. Conchita Martinez (6), Spain, 6-2, 6-2.

Kveta Hrdlickova, Czech Republic, def. Sabine Appelmans, Belgium, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5).

Anke Huber (8), Germany, def. Anne-Gaelle Sidot, France, 6-4, 6-4.

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