MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ Anke Huber left a job unfinished in the final of the Australian Open two years ago.

Huber, who has never quite emerged from the shadow of fellow German Steffi Graf, Wednesday gave herself a chance to establish herself as a Grand Slam champion at last.

Huber's stronger, steadier baseline game carried her past Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 7-6 (9-7), 7-5 and into the semifinals against the winner of the Martina Hingis-Mary Pierce match.

An occasionally erratic player, the 10th-seeded Huber withstood the pressure of Sanchez Vicario's relentless attack, came up with some imaginative drops, and chased down shots that seemed to be out of her reach.

Sanchez Vicario, seeded No. 7 after winning a tuneup in Sydney last week with victories over Venus and Serena Williams, turned out to be a little wilder against Huber. The Spaniard, who won the French Open twice and the U.S. Open once, sprayed 44 unforced errors _ 10 more than Huber _ and had only one more winner.

Huber reached her only Grand Slam final at the 1996 Australian Open, only to lose 6-4, 6-1 to Monica Seles. Since that match, Huber has struggled, dropping from No. 4 in the rankings that year and never going beyond the fourth round of a major in her next seven appearances.