DUBAI, UAE - Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci put their friendship aside and went to battle in the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday, and it was Errani who held her nerve - and in the important moments her serve - to make the final of the Premier-level event.
In a match where the two players combined for 11 breaks in 18 games, it was Errani who managed to hang onto her service games more - five holds to two. The No.5-seeded Italian prevailed, 63 63.
"I just tried to play my game, tried to be as solid as I could," Errani commented. "It's tough because we know each other very well and know how each other plays, so I had to do what she didn't think I would do. It's very difficult to play against someone who knows what you're going to do in every shot."
"I had to play aggressive, but she missed probably two or three balls, and when you play against someone who doesn't miss any balls, it's tough to play long points every single point," Vinci said after the match. "She played better than me today. But for sure I'm happy I played an unbelievable tournament - this is my first semifinal here and I won against two Top 10s. I played a great tournament.
"I'm sad, and it's not easy, but in a few hours I will be better."
Vinci was asked whether the two would put the match aside and have dinner together afterwards.
"Yes, yes, yes - but in a few hours, not now!" Vinci said with a smile.
"Both are very good players," Errani said. "Caroline is a very solid player and is playing very well. Kvitova plays really good, very strong with so much power. Both will be very tough matches."
The No.6-seeded Kvitova ended up beating the No.8-seeded Wozniacki in the second semi, 63 64.
"I'm really glad how I played today - it was a great match," Kvitova said. "We are different players. She tries to put the balls back, and I'm the person who is playing aggressively and going for the winners. So what happens in the match really depends on if I'm missing a lot or no, and I played well today.
"The atmosphere here is really nice. I enjoyed every moment today and I'm happy I'm in the final."
"She just went for every shot and hit it deep, and I came under pressure straightaway," Wozniacki said after the match. "I thought I served well, though. In the second set I think I had my chances, and I probably should have taken them but I didn't. You never know what could have happened in the third set but there was still a long way to go. At the end of the day, she played a very good match out there.
"Petra's a player that when she's on fire, she's on fire and she wins a lot of matches."
Although Errani is ranked one spot higher than Kvitova, if history is anything to go by, Kvitova is a strong favorite for the title - she has won all three of their previous meetings in straight sets.
"We've played a few times, but she's a Top 10 player," Kvitova said. "She has a good forehand with big spin and is quite fast on the backhand. She moves very well, too. She has had great results in the past and played quite well today, and she beat Petrova yesterday too. She's a very tough opponent.
"I think it will be a really tough match tomorrow."