Wozniacki Battles Into Istanbul SFs

They had always gone to three sets, and this one was no different - Caroline Wozniacki edged Karolina Pliskova on Quarterfinal Friday at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup.

Published July 18, 2014 12:15

Wozniacki Battles Into Istanbul SFs
Caroline Wozniacki

ISTANBUL, Turkey - It was a big day in Istanbul on Friday, as Caroline Wozniacki continued her path to the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup title and a WTA Rising Star continued her breakthrough week.

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That WTA Rising Star was 16-year-old Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh, who beat Elina Svitolina in the first match of the day, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1. Given the lopsided nature of the second and third sets, the key moment in the match could have been the first set, as Konjuh dug out of a 4-1 hole to take it, 6-4.

It's that kind of mature play that has kept Konjuh rising up the rankings, and she's now the youngest player to reach a WTA semifinal since a 16-year-old Donna Vekic made the Tashkent final in 2012.

Awaiting Konjuh in the semifinals is No.2 seed Roberta Vinci, who continued her summer revival with a 6-0, 6-2 win over No.6 seed Kurumi Nara, never getting broken during the 49-minute steamrolling.

"I was not expecting an easy match," Vinci said. "I played well and stayed aggressive from the start."

Having left Wimbledon with a 7-17 record on the year, Vinci is now 7-1 since (14-18 overall).

Perhaps surprisingly, Konjuh actually beat Vinci in the pair's only previous encounter - and perhaps unsurprisingly, Vinci, who always seems to lift her game in the summer, is looking for revenge.

"I'm playing against a young player who I lost against in Auckland in the first event of the year," Vinci said. "I'll have to try my best, and I need to play agressive and come up to the net.

"I am confident and looking forward to the semis."

The other two quarterfinals saw No.1 seed Wozniacki rally past No.8 seed Karolina Pliskova, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, the third time they've gone to three sets in three career meetings, and Kristina Mladenovic take a two-hour, 23-minute marathon against former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

"I'm happy with the way I've been serving this week and it definitely helped me out there today," Wozniacki said. "Karolina is a tough opponent and she always gives me a lot of trouble.

"I knew it was not going to be easy."

Wozniacki beat Mladenovic in their only previous encounter.

"I will have to stay focused and aggressive because my opponent has a good forehand and a good serve," Wozniacki said of her looming match-up with Mladenovic. "I will try and make her run."

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