Flavia Fights Into SFs
Published July 08, 2010 12:00
BASTAD, Sweden - The Collector Swedish Open Women's quartet of marquee names all made it through to the final four on Thursday, setting up a sizzling Semifinal Friday at the International-level clay court stop.
"It was really a tough match," Safarova said after beating her fellow Czech. "I think we were both nervous because we know each other so well."
No.2 seed Aravane Rezai followed with a 61 64 win over No.5 seed Arantxa Parra Santonja, then No.4 seed Gisela Dulko got the third semifinal spot when Croatian qualifier Ana Vrljic, a first-time quarterfinalist, was forced to retire down 5-0 in the first set due to a left hamstring muscle injury.
"I just fought like I did yesterday and two days ago," Rezai said. "It wasn't easy to stay focused after having won the first set that easily, and she kept fighting."
Flavia Pennetta, the top seed this week, completed the line-up with a 64 64 win over Jill Craybas. The match wasn't simple, however - it took exactly two hours, stretched in particular by a nine deuce final game of the first set.
The semifinals feature a pair of intriguing match-ups, most notably Pennetta against Dulko. Dulko leads Pennetta in their head-to-head, 3-2, including 2-0 on clay. The two are close friends and arguably the second-best doubles team of the year, highlighted by a 17-match win streak that brought them three straight Premier titles at Miami, Stuttgart and Rome, then the finals of Madrid.
Rezai leads Safarova in their head-to-head, 2-1. It was 1-1 before their semifinal match at Madrid in the spring, but in that match Safarova had to retire.
"She's a very good player who I've played against a few times, and it won't be an easy match," Rezai said of Safarova, who had a thigh injury in that match.