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Ji sweeps into LPGA Match-Play semifinals


LOS ANGELES: South Korean Ji Eun-Hee barrelled into the LPGA Match-Play semifinals on Saturday, downing previously unbeaten Madelene Sagstrom 7&6 as the remaining three quarterfinals all went to extra holes.

"My putting works really well today'', said Ji, the 2009 US Women's Open champion. "Just pretty confident out there."

Ji said she didn't even realise until her caddie told her that she was wrapping up the match on the 12th hole at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She won the first hole, and three of the next five to seize a commanding lead. After she and Solheim Cup player Sagstrom halved the seventh and eighth, Ji won the next three holes to close out the match.

It was a less stressful finish than her round of 16 clash with compatriot Choi Hye-Jin in the morning. After Choi pulled level on the 15th hole, Ji won the 16th and 17th for a 2&1 victory that put her through to the last eight.

It made the day in the desert much shorter for Ji, who will face American Allison Lee in the semifinals on Sunday for a place in the Sunday afternoon final.

It was a longer slog for Lee as well as semifinalists Lydia Vu and Ayaka Furue of Japan.

"It was just a real grind out there'', Lee said after she battled back to beat Scotland's Gemma Dryburgh in 20 holes. "It's tough out here in the afternoon. It was getting windy and the greens were firmer than this morning."

Furue needed 22 holes to get past England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff, finishing it off with a 30-foot putt.

Furue will face Vu, who remained unbeaten in five matches this week with a 20-hole victory over South Korean Jenny Shin.

"She would make a birdie then I would birdie the next hole to go back and forth'', Vu said of her match with Shin. "She played really well and I just had to play the best I could today.

"Just playing one shot at a time, one hole at a time, not getting ahead of myself."

Furue, at No 10 the highest seeded player left in the draw, said she'd just try to rest up for Sunday.

"It's been a really long day'', she said. "So, just go home, do the same thing I been doing all week: Take a cold shower, kind of relax, prepare myself for tomorrow and come back out tomorrow and be ready to play." — AFP

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