Dubai: Caroline Wozniacki took another step towards her title defence by setting up a semi-final clash with Julia Goerges, while Dubai resident Jelena Jankovic prepared for a tussle at the lower end with Agnieszka Radwanska at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open here on Thursday night.
With the top seeds out of the competition with injuries, defending champion Wozniacki continued with her pursuit of a successful defence of her title here with a systematic 6-3, 7-5 dismantling of Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic in a quarter-finals between two former world number ones.
Earlier eighth seed Jankovic had got a good measure of fourth seed Samantha Stosur of Australia before winning 6-4, 6-2 to book her place against Radwanska – a swift 6-2, 6-1 winner over the ninth-seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
But it was a treat reserved for those who dared sit through the late evening nippy chill in the air as Hantuchova and Goerges battled to claim their last semi-final spot here.
After both broke each other for 1-1, it was Hantuchova who stamped her authority persistently finding the sidelines to come up with another two breaks and take the set 6-4 in 38 minutes.
The second set was of some flawless tennis from the German as she kept things terse and proper for a 4-0 lead with breaks in the second and fourth games. Though the Slovak did try to salvage some pride it proved to be a bit too late as Goerges served out to win 6-3.
Hantuchova had the most bizarre start to the third set, losing her serve in the first and third for a comfortable 3-0 cushion only to be broken by Hantuchova for 1-3, who held to make it 2-3.
But that was all that was left of Hantuchova as Goerges maintained her focus to serve out the set and match with an ace down the middle to close down after two hours and 15 minutes of gripping centre court action.
Goerges was pleased with her win and her debut semi-final appearance in Dubai. “You have to work for every ball against Daniela and even though I was 3-0 up in the third set, she never gave up. It was really tough but I am pretty pleased with that,” the 23-yea-old German said.
After playing twice each in 2010 and last year, Goerges and Wozniacki are tied 2-2. But it is the German who holds the edge as she has won both their encounters in 2011. “I have great respect for her [Wozniacki] as she has been the world number one for so long. But tomorrow is another day and we will see,” the world No.19 from Germany added.