EASTBOURNE, England - Caroline Wozniacki and Jamie Hampton put their fighting spirits on display at the Aegon International on Thursday, rallying from a set down against inspired opponents to make the semifinals of the Premier-level event. And they will now play for the first time since the juniors.
One big difference this time, though, was the conditions - it was a very misty day in Eastbourne.
"We were basically playing in a cloud," Hampton said. "There was so much moisture in the air and the court was slick, so I was having a hard time with my footing and my movements. That was definitely bothering me a little bit. I thought it was really slippery. I was a little worked up today, actually, I showed a little more emotion than I would have liked to. But the conditions were tough out there today."
Hampton is now in her second Premier semifinal, her first coming just a few weeks ago in Brussels.
"I think I'm playing good, solid tennis," Hampton said. "I don't think I'm anywhere near my best, but I'm developing as a player still. And right now I'm definitely just taking it one match at a time."
Next up is the No.5-seeded Wozniacki, who dropped the first set against Ekaterina Makarova but then won nine straight games and never really looked back, eventually closing the Russian out, 46 60 63.
"The second set was a good set for me," Wozniacki said. "I played well. I'm really pleased with the way my game is at the moment and I feel like I have been playing really good tennis here this week."
Grass has been one of Wozniacki's best surfaces - she was a Wimbledon junior champion in 2006 and won this tournament in 2009, too. So why does the former World No.1 like the slick lawns so much?
"I really like grass - I think the grass really suits my game," she commented. "But here in particular it's great too. It's a really nice tournament and the atmosphere is good. I really enjoy myself here."
Wozniacki and Hampton have never played at the WTA level. Their only meeting came in the first round of the US Open junior event in 2005, perhaps with a surprising result - Hampton won it, 62 26 64.
"We played in juniors," Hampton said. "But I don't know how I'm going to approach it this time yet."
Wozniacki didn't remember the encounter in Flushing. "I'm not sure - I mean, I've played so many matches before, so I don't remember," she said. "I have watched her play a little bit lately though and she's a strong player. She's young. She's been playing well lately, serving well, trying to take the ball early, pretty good volleys, as well. An all-around player. I think the grass suits her game."