LINZ, Austria - Stefanie Voegele battled back from the brink of defeat to pull off a stunner over No.2 seed Sloane Stephens at the Generali Ladies Linz on Friday. Next up is the No.3 seed, Ana Ivanovic.
Voegele had come back from a set down in her first two rounds - 57 75 60 against Klara Zakopalova and 46 62 75 against Karin Knapp - and after losing the first set in a tie-break she repeated that pattern against Stephens, rallying from 5-2 down in the third set to squeak by the American, 67(3) 64 75.
"I expected a tough match and it was one," Voegele said. "I didn't really expect to win the match when it was 5-2 in the third set, but I just played every point, played aggressive and went for my shots.
"It wasn't easy to keep playing my game and going for my shots - I didn't want to miss - but I knew I just had to keep going for it because that's my game and I'm most comfortable when I play like that."
"I'm really happy," Ivanovic said. "In the first set I was playing really well and did everything right, pretty much. In the second set I let up a little bit in the beginning and she started playing a little bit deeper and better, so I'm very happy I managed to break her back and hang in that second set and close it out."
Linz has always been one of Ivanovic's very best tournaments - not only has she never lost before the quarterfinals in six appearances now, she is also a two-time champion here in 2008 and 2010, and she's now 19-3 lifetime here. It's one of only two WTA tournaments she has won twice - the other one was the season-ending Tournament Of Champions, which she conquered in Bali in 2010 and 2011.
Ivanovic and Voegele will be playing against each other for the first time.
"It's going to be another tough match," Ivanovic said of the semifinal match-up. "It's going to be a quick turnaround, and Stefanie's been playing very well lately, so it won't be easy. But I'm just going to keep focusing on the same things I've been focusing on the last few matches. We'll see how it goes."
"I just try to approach every match the same way, with the same attitude, just playing every point," Voegele said. "I'll rest now and try to sleep well and recover, and just get ready for tomorrow."