BUCHAREST, Romania - No.7 seed Irina-Camelia Begu and unseeded Ana Bogdan flew the Romanian flag into the last four to begin action at the BRD Bucharest Open on Friday with straight-set victories in the quarterfinals.
The 24-year-old Bogdan stunned top seed Anastasija Sevastova, 6-1, 6-3, in just over an hour for her first victory over a top 20 player, while Begu ran off the last 10 games to defeat Pauline Parmentier, 7-5, 6-0.
"I feel great - it's an amazing feeling to be in the semifinals here at home and especially winning against the No.1 seeded player," Bogdan said. "I'm extremely happy and I can't wait for the match tomorrow. I wasn't afraid at all, I was just really motivated and determined to
win and play an amazing game like I did."
Bogdan dominated for the duration of the 62-minute encounter, as she broke the defending finalist's serve a total of five times in the match, winning nearly 60 percent of the points played on return.
She also held srong behind her own delivery, though she dropped serve once in the second set - the World No.108 served at just 54 percent for the match, but lost only five points behind her first delivery in total.
A former World No.2 on the ITF junior circuit in 2009, Bogdan has not yet reached those heights on the WTA - her current ranking of World No.108 is just three spots off of her career high, which she achieved in May of this year.
She reached her first career WTA semifinal last season at the Brasil Tennis Cup in Florianopolis, where she beat top seed and former World No.1 Jelena Jankovic - who was ranked No.27 at the time - en route.
"I beat Jelena Jankovic last year...so this match here was the biggest win of my career so far," Bogdan recalled. "I'm doing recovery and I'm going to take a little break and rest until tomorrow and it's going to be fine."
Her breakthrough run at home in Bucharest will see her set a new career-high ranking, but should the Romanian want to break the top 100 for the first time in her career, she will have to advance to her first WTA final by winning her semifinal match on Saturday against the winner of the last quarterfinal between No.3 seed Julia Goerges and compatriot Alexandra Dulgheru.
Also advancing was No.2 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who downed No.8 seed Tatjana Maria with the loss of just three games, 6-0, 6-3.
The two single-handed backhands squared off for the sixth time in their careers - but first since 2010 - and it was the Spaniard who dominated proceedings to claim victory in 66 minutes.
"I played really good the first 15 minutes of the match," the Spaniard said. "She went down a little bit in the first set, and it was easy for me but I had to be focused all the time and in every point. I played really good all the match - she came back really good in the second set but I was there all the time and it was tough for her."
With the victory, Suárez Navarro advances to her first WTA semifinal since Monterrey in March, where she will face Begu. The World No.58 battled back as Parmentier served for the opener at 5-3, coming through a tight first set, but rolled in the second set to secure a quarterfinal victory in 83 minutes.
Begu dropped just one point behind her serve in the second set - which came as she led 40-0 while serving for the match - and surrender just five total to score her third straight win over the Frenchwoman in five career meetings.