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Defending champ Cirstea reaches semis in Istanbul

Defending champion Sorana Cirstea advanced to the semifinals at the clay-court Istanbul Championship by defeating Julia Grabher of Austria 7-5, 6-1 on Friday.

The Romanian last year ended a 13-year wait for her second career singles title when she upset Elise Mertens in the final.

Cirstea will next play third-seeded Veronika Kudermetova or Anna Bondar.

Also, Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan reached the last four after coming back to beat sixth-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

The 51st-ranked Putintseva will next face Russian player Anastasia Potapova, who advanced by defeating seventh-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-2, 6-2.

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