Kanepi Reaches SFs, Radwanska Awaits
Published May 24, 2012 12:00
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Swedish No.1 Sofia Arvidsson reached the seventh and biggest WTA semifinal of her career on Thursday, toughing out a tight 75 64 victory over one half of the Radwanska sister act - the other half fared better.
Facing Urszula Radwanska, a qualifier in the draw and conqueror of No.2 seed Marion Bartoli the day before, Arvidsson bounced back from a 3-0, double-break deficit in the first set and eventually toughed out the one-hour, 42-minute win, serving strong and dictating play with her powerful groundstrokes.
"I had played against her before so I know her game a little bit," Arvidsson said. "She and her sister are very smart, very different from all the other players. You don't get too much of a rhythm against them - one ball is deep, the next ball is short, and they can come to the net too. You never get the same ball.
"Urszula was playing very well and it was difficult in the beginning, but then I started playing more aggressive and things got better. It was a tight match."
Arvidsson's six previous WTA semifinals have all come at the International level (two titles, two finals, two semifinals) - this is her first Premier-level semifinal.
"The semifinals of such a big tournament is exciting," the 28-year-old said. "I really like Brussels. I did well here last year, reaching the quarterfinals, and it's nice to have good memories coming back. Hopefully I'll win one more match."
Awaiting her is Simona Halep, who came back from a 25-minute bagel first set to beat No.4 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 06 64 63. It was Halep's second upset of the week, having taken out No.6 seed Jelena Jankovic first round.
Halep and Arvidsson will be playing each other for the first time.
The other semifinal will feature the other Radwanska sister, No.1 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, against the No.8 seed, Kaia Kanepi. Radwanska ended the run of Belgian wildcard Alison Van Uytvanck, 62 61, and now has 34 match wins on the season (second only to Victoria Azarenka's 35); Kanepi broke away from 3-all first set against Tsvetana Pironkova to win, 63 61.
"It was quite an interesting match - she had her opportunities, and the score didn't really say how tough it was," Kanepi said. "I was very aggressive from the baseline. I made shots I had to and didn't make mistakes at the wrong time."
Radwanska has beaten Kanepi in all three of their previous meetings, in straight sets, too, although they were all on hardcourts, and this is their first meeting on Kanepi's favorite surface - and Radwanska's admitted least favorite.
"I grew up on clay. I love playing on clay anytime. You get time to build the points up, and I like that," Kanepi said. "We've played before and she's a very good player. I just want to play well and take my chances when they come."
Pironkova wasn't too disappointed with the loss - after all it was her first time in a WTA quarterfinal since Palermo last July. "I don't feel bad at all," the Bulgarian No.1 said. "Compared to my results coming here, this is very good. I had three good matches - even though I lost today, I think I played on a good level. Kaia just played too well today - good serve, good returning, just very solid."