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Pereira & Zakopalova Into Rio Semis

Local favorite Teliana Pereira advanced to a Rio Open semifinal showdown against No.1 seed Klara Zakopalova.

Published February 21, 2014 12:12

Pereira & Zakopalova Into Rio Semis
Teliana Pereira

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Teliana Pereira kept Brazilian fans' hopes of a local champion alive with a quarterfinal triumph on Friday at the Rio Open.

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In her very first WTA main draw exactly a year ago in Bogotá, Pereira went all the way to the semifinals. Since that time she has not been beyond the second round of a WTA event.

But the Brazilian No.1 matched her best WTA outing with a 64 64 defeat of Irina-Camelia Begu.

"I think I played the key points better, which was the difference," Pereira said. "I'm very happy."

Though she has not surrendered a set all week, the competition stiffens for Pereira in the form of semifinal foe and No.1 seed Klara Zakopalova.

"She plays very well. She plays hard," Pereira said of Zakopalova. "Tomorrow I have to be aggressive but also use variety, some dropshots and maybe go to the net. I think it's going to be a good match."

Down 3-1 in the first set against Katarzyna Piter, Zakopalova won 11 of the next 12 games for a 64 60 victory in her quarterfinal.

"I've never played against Teliana, but I know she's a big fighter and a very good player, so I will have to play my best tomorrow and we'll see," Zakopalova said. "Of course the crowd will be supporting her. She's at home. But I play Fed Cup and all, so I'm used to that. I have nothing to lose. There's no pressure. I'll try my best."

Saturday's other semifinal will see No.5 seed Kurumi Nara play qualifier Nastassja Burnett.

Nara was up a set and a break on Lourdes Domínguez Lino when the Spaniard retired with a left hamstring strain. That put Nara into her second WTA semifinal, having also gotten that far last October in Osaka.

Burnett converted on nine of 12 break point chances in edging third-seeded Paula Ormaechea, 57 62 75. Her third three set win this week, including qualifying, put her into her first WTA semifinal.

"I feel very tired but really happy," Burnett said. "It has been an amazing week. I did not expect to make the semifinals. I'm really so happy to win today and to play in the semis tomorrow. I can't believe it!"

The doubles final was also set Friday, with first-time WTA pairings Johanna Larsson and Chanelle Scheepers set to square off against Irina-Camelia Begu and Maria Irigoyen for the title.

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