Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei battled and made it tough, but she could not stop second seed Lucie Safarova advancing to the semi-finals of the Prague Open on Thursday.
Going into the tournament, the Czech world No. 16 had not won a match this season and she came up against a tricky opponent in the Taiwanese world No. 78 before eventually claiming a 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 victory in 1 hour, 47 minutes.
Safarova saved six of nine break points and converted four of eight, winning 84 of the 158 points contested in a topsy-turvy encounter to improve her career record against Hsieh to 2-0.
“She’s always a very tricky player, defending the court very well, and I’m very excited to be through to the semis,” Safarova told the WTA Web site.
The second seed was due to face fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the third seed took just 50 minutes to rout Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-2, 6-1 on another chilly day in the Czech capital.
Pliskova and Safarova met only last week in Stuttgart, Germany, the former coming through a third-set tiebreak, but Safarova was bullish heading into the rematch.
“I was on the way back already in Stuttgart, where I had a great match, and I was hoping the results would come. I’m happy and excited that it’s going this well,” Safarova said.
In the top half on the draw, Russian top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied from a set down to oust Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in 2 hours, 15 minutes and set up a semi-final against Australian fourth seed Samantha Stosur, who edged a tough almost three-hour battle against Czech fifth seed Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4).
GRAND PRIX SAR
Top seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland advanced to the semi-finals of the Grand Prix SAR, saving all four break points that she faced against Johanna Larsson of Sweden in a 6-4, 6-1 win on Thursday.
World No. 15 Bacsinszky broke Larsson’s serve three times and was next due to face fifth seed Timea Babos of Hungary for the first time in six years.
Babos took out Pauline Parmentier of France 6-3, 6-3 to reach her second WTA Tour semi-final of the year.
Former champion Kiki Bertens needed nearly three hours to beat eighth seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-3.
Bertens, who won her only WTA Tour career title in Rabat in 2012, saved 13 of 15 break points on her serve.
She was next due to face world No. 186 Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, who beat Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in a clash between two qualifiers.
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