Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova overpowered defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to set up a semi-final against former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the Dubai Championships on Thursday.
Wozniacki needed more than two and a half hours to get past Marion Bartoli of France, whose aggressive play was undermined by 14 double faults — two that cost her games in the second set — and 46 unforced errors.
Doubles specialist Roberta Vinci of Italy surprised former US Open champ Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 in their quarter-final and will face doubles partner Sara Errani after the seventh-ranked Italian overcame 12th-ranked Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-4, 0-6, 6-3.
No. 4-ranked Radwanska had no answers for the big-hitting Kvitova, who neutralized the Pole with a powerful forehand that contributed to 37 winners.
Neither player managed to hold serve in the nervy first five games. Then eighth-ranked Kvitova held for the first time to go up 4-2 and broke for a fourth time to make it 5-2. The second set was tighter, but Kvitova took control when she converted a fifth break chance in the game to go up 4-2. The Czech won the match with a powerful forehand that Radwanska returned weakly into the net.
“I think to beat Agnieszka here it means something more because she’s defending champion, so she’s playing well here,” said Kvitova, who has a 4-1 record against the Pole. “So that’s a good sign for me.”
Kvitova said she would have to play even better against Wozniacki, including reducing the 38 unforced errors she made against Radwanska.
“It’s important to have less unforced errors, but it’s part of my game,” she said. “I am a player who is going for the winners, so I have to accept the unforced errors, too. I shoot bullets on the court next time.”
Wozniacki and Bartoli had a similar sloppy start, with six breaks of serve in the first set. Bartoli came from 4-2 down to win the first set. Wozniacki was almost untouchable in the second, and the third became back-and-forth. Bartoli jumped out to 2-0 before Wozniacki ran off five straight games. Bartoli won two straight to make it 5-4, but Wozniacki was able hold her nerve and serve out the match.
After her win, Diego Maradona, an ambassador for the Dubai Sports Council, came onto the court to give her one of his signed Argentina jerseys. The Dane gave him a signed tennis racket.
Earlier, Vinci put away a mistake-prone Stosur, who lost in the quarter-finals in Doha last week.