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Top seed Simona Halep into Sydney semis; Grigor Dimitrov advances

SYDNEY -- Top-seeded Simona Halep has booked a semifinal berth at the Sydney International, while fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the men's quarterfinals of the Australian Open tuneup event.

Halep beat last year's Sydney runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 7-5 and will next play two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who defeated Sara Errani of Italy 7-6 (1), 6-0 on Wednesday.

Dimitrov advanced with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas. Joining him in the men's quarterfinals are Nicolas Mahut of France, who beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, who advanced when second-seeded Dominic Thiem of Austria retired with an injury while trailing 7-6 (2) 2-2.

At the WTA's Hobart International, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova defeated Kimberly Birrell 6-1, 6-0 and 2012 Hobart champion Mona Barthel of Germany beat Naomi Osaka 7-6 (2), 6-2.

"Today it was just like a little present to go on to the quarterfinals, but I still had to be there and play well, she didn't just give it to me," Cibulkova said.

On Thursday, she'll play Dutch qualifier Kiki Bertens, who beat Annika Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-1.

The Australian Open begins Monday in Melbourne.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.