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Semifinal Surprises In Fès

Two years after winning junior Roland Garros, Simona Halep is into her first Tour semi.

Published April 29, 2010 12:00

Semifinal Surprises In Fès
Simona Halep

FÈS, Morocco - The semis have been set at the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, with just one seed left standing after the quarterfinals were played at the $220,000 event on Thursday.

For a while it looked as though even No.7 seed Iveta Benesova would be on the list of casualties. But after dropping the first set to Spanish qualifier Laura Pous Tio the Czech lefty snapped into overdrive, conceding just one more game as she raced to victory, 26 61 60.

Next up for Benesova is Alizé Cornet, who beat Britain's Anne Keothavong in straight sets, 75 62 - after Keothavong failed to serve out the first set at 5-4. Cornet and Benesova haven't played for three years, the young Frenchwoman winning in three sets on the clay of Acapulco in 2007.

An all-Czech final remains a possibility, after world No.126 Renata Voracova beat fifth seeded German Angelique Kerber, 75 62, to advance to her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour semifinal at the age of 26.

She next faces another Tour semi debutante: Simona Halep, who caused the upset of the day with her defeat of Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder, the No.2 seed.

Having lost the opening set, Schnyder appeared to be back on track up a break in the second set, but her young Romanian opponent surged to close out the match in a tie-break, 62 76(3).

Halep, who won the Roland Garros junior title in 2008, has been gaining momentum on Tour of late.

As a qualifier at Marbella the 18-year-old beat Benesova and Sorana Cirstea on her way to the quarters, where she pushed Flavia Pennetta to a second set tie-break. The following week she won three more matches to qualify at Barcelona, taking Carla Suárez Navarro the distance in the first round before succumbing.

Voracova beat Halep at an ITF Circuit event in the UK last year, on a hardcourt.

In the doubles semifinals, top seeded Benesova and Anabel Medina Garrigues play Cornet and Julie Coin, while No.2 seeds Voracova and Lucie Hradecka take on Vesna Manasieva and Klara Zakopalova.

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