Former champion and tenth seeded Caroline Wozniacki booked her place against Anastasija Sevastova in the singles semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, late on Thursday.
Pitted against 17-year-old American debutant Catherine Bellis, the 2011 Dubai champion took under one hour to tame her opponent 6-3, 6-2 and book her semi-final spot for the fourth time in the history of the Dubai tournament. After winning the title in 2011, the 26-year-old Dane had previously made it to the last four stages in 2012 (lost to Julia Goerges), 2013 (lost to Petra Kvitova), 2014 (lost to Venus Williams) and 2015 (lost to Simona Halep).
Showing lovely court movement and shot management, Bellis was the first to break to go clear 3-1. But that was the motivation the former world number one was waiting for as Wozniacki took the next five games to win the opening set 6-3 in 34 engrossing minutes.
Wozniacki was dominant in the second set breaking the American teen on a couple of occasions, in-between holding serves to power her way to a formidable 4-0 position. After that it was a cruise as the crafty player from Denmark who reigned as the former world number one over 67 weeks wrapped up set and match in 67 entertaining minutes on centre court.
“I don’t know what exactly it is for me here in Dubai,” Wozniacki said.
“Maybe it is that the courts suit my game better. What really matters to me at this moment is that I am playing well and I am happy to be in yet another semi-finals here,” she added.
Wozniacki will now meet Sevastova after the 26-year-old Latvian got past China’s Qiang Wang 6-4, 7-5 in an hour and 21 minutes. In winning, Sevastova improved her Dubai performance to a semi-final appearance on a hazy and cloudy afternoon.
Much is expected of the Latvian girl following her first-ever semi-final appearance in a Premier 5 tournament, something that could help her climb up to even No. 20 in the rankings if she wins the title here on Saturday.
“When you see all these results, you say to yourself you have a chance every time. It’s great to be here. But tomorrow is another match. It’s not over yet. I try to enjoy it today, watch the match, and I have to be ready tomorrow,” she added.
Wozniacki too was looking forward to her match against the Latvian, whose best in Dubai so far has been a couple of Round Two appearances in 2010 and 2011 — falling on both occasions to Agnieszka Radwanska. “She can be a solid player,” Wozniacki said of Sevastova.
“She mixes the game well and doesn’t let to keep your rhythm. But tomorrow is another day and I am just excited at the prospect of another semi-final here,” she added.
Seventh seed Elina Svitolina was the third one to move into the semi-finals with a dominant 6-0, 6-4 win over American Lauren Davis in just over an hour. Svitolina will play the winner of the fourth and final quarter-final between Angelique Kerber and Ana Konjuh that was scheduled later on Thursday.
Results of women’s singles quarter-finals on Thursday:
Anastasija Sevastova bt Qiang Wang 6-4, 7-5; Elina Svitolina bt Lauren Davis 6-0, 6-4; Caroline Wozniacki bt Catherine Bellis 6-3, 6-2.
ORDER OF PLAY for Friday
Centre Court (Start at 2pm) Sania Mirza/Barbora Strycova vs Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina. (Not before 5pm) Caroline Wozniacki vs Anastasija Sevastova.
(Not before 7pm) Angelique Kerber OR Ana Konjuh vs Elina Svitolina; Hao-Ching Chan/Yaroslava Shvedova vs Andrea Hlavackova/Shuai Peng.