NÜRNBERG, Germany - Andrea Petkovic had to withstand a major challenge from countrywoman Annika Beck but managed to secure her first WTA semifinal berth of the year on Thursday at the NÜRNBERGER VERSICHERUNGSCUP.
The rollercoaster match saw Petkovic win five straight games down a set and 3-1 to force a third set against the eighth-seeded Beck. Then down 5-4 in the third, Petkovic won three straight games for the 46 63 75 triumph that lasted two and a half hours.
"Annika played a really great match," Petkovic said. "She was moving incredibly well and playing really deep balls. In the beginning I just didn't have any energy in my legs to spin the ball and I was missing a lot of balls and shanking them. I was very frustrated, but thankfully I found my rhythm by the end of the third set and was able to pull through."
Petkovic has now won eight straight matches, including the five she won last week en route to an ITF Women's Circuit title in Marseille and is projected to return to the Top 100 on the new rankings for the first time since last October.
"I think the most important thing for tomorrow is to recover after all the matches that I've had in the last 10 days," Petkovic said. "It's going to be a tough one, but I'm going to try to be as ready as possible."
Petkovic will surely have her hands full in Friday's semis against Jelena Jankovic, whom she is 3-2 against. The top-seeded Serb was a 64 60 winner over Lourdes Domínguez Lino, improving her record against the Spaniard to 4-0 without ever having dropped a set. Not only that, but Jankovic has surrendered just 12 games all week - best of the semifinalists.
"I played well today," Jankovic said. "Domínguez Lino is a tough opponent on clay. The first set was tight and then I played much better in the second."
Also yet to drop a set is No.7 seed Simona Halep, a 64 61 victor over Galina Voskoboeva. This is the sixth time she has been at least to the semifinals of a WTA event, and all six have been on red clay.
"I am very happy with my win today. I played well," Halep said. "I am just taking it match by match, and I'm sure tomorrow will be tough. I like Germany very much and I like it here."
Next up for Halep is fifth-seeded Lucie Safarova, who down a break at 3-2 in the third set against Polona Hercog won four of the next five games for a 76(5) 36 64 victory. It was a far cry from Safarova's last encounter with Hercog, as the Czech recorded the lone 60 60 win of her WTA career in the semifinals of Charleston in April 2012.
"It was a tight match, all about a few balls here and there," Safarova said. "I'm happy to have won and am looking forward to my next match."
If she can win that match, it would be the 300th win of Safarova's pro career.