SEOUL, South Korea - Caroline Wozniacki continued to make this her best ever performance at the KDB Korea Open on Friday, reaching the semifinals and shaking off first round losses in her only two previous appearances.
The No.1-seeded Wozniacki followed up straight set wins in her first two rounds with another one in the quarterfinals, losing three straight games from 62 50 up but finally closing out No.7 seed Klara Zakopalova in the next game, 62 63.
Wozniacki's first two appearances in Seoul didn't go anywhere near as well as this year, falling first round in both 2006 and 2007. Of course, she was nowhere near the player she is now - she was a No.292-ranked qualifier here in 2006 (losing to former World No.1 Martina Hingis) and No.70 in the world in 2007 (losing to Eleni Daniilidou, who was the defending champion that year).
"When I qualified here in 2006, before they placed the qualifiers I was pretty sure it was going to be me playing Hingis - and it turned out to be me!" Wozniacki said. "I was very nervous going into the match. It was like there was no chance I was going to win, because I was so nervous playing against my role model.
"This is my first time back here in Seoul since 2007. Time goes quickly! But I'm happy to be here again. The tournament has changed a lot since then, but the people are as nice and polite as always and it's really nice to be back."
Wozniacki was also asked about her adidas by Stella McCartney apparel.
"I've been wearing it for four years now and I really enjoy it. I have a lot of say about my outfits - what colors I want to wear, what design it is - I meet up with her and the people on her team four to five times a year and we talk about this collection and the next year's collection. It's great to be a part of the process."
Awaiting Wozniacki in the semifinals is No.8 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who served up a storm against María José Martínez Sánchez, losing just 11 points in seven service games en route to a 61 61 win over the Spaniard.
Wozniacki has beaten Makarova in all four of their previous meetings, and handily too - Wozniacki has never been pushed past 6-4 in any set.
The other two quarterfinals took place later in the day, with No.3 seed Kaia Kanepi and No.6 seed Varvara Lepchenko winning through. Lepchenko was first to advance, winning a 46 76(3) 64 marathon against Tamira Paszek to reach her first WTA semifinal; Kanepi followed with a 64 64 win over Kiki Bertens, rallying from 4-2 down in the second set to close the match out.
Lepchenko had been 0-4 in WTA quarterfinals before this result. "It's my first time in the semifinals of a WTA event, so I'm very happy," the American said. "Today's match lasted almost three hours and I had to be really patient and focused - but I'm really happy to win and I'm looking forward to my next one."