2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki ended CiCi Bellis' dream run at the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a commanding straight sets victory.
WTA Staff

DUBAI, UAE - 2011 champion Caroline Wozniacki put an end to CiCi Bellis' dream run at the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, notching commanding 6-3, 6-2 win over the 17-year-old American.

Bellis announced herself to the Dubai draw in a big way with her stunning upset over World No.6 Agnieszka Radwanska in the last round to reach her first Premier 5 quarterfinals, but she had no answers against her childhood idol Wozniacki.

"I have been there myself, so I know what it's like," Wozniacki said of her young opponent. "I just try to put myself in her shoes.

"For me, it was just very important to stay strong and not show any negative emotions but just stay positive all the time, show that I have the presence on court and really make her play those extra balls and points.

"She would really have to play on a really high level to beat me, because I was going to give that extra ball back. I wasn't going to just give it to her."

The American's tricky disguised groundstrokes - which troubled Radwanska time and again in the third round - kept Wozniacki second-guessing as the teenager dictated the early rallies. She calmly took the break at 3-1, but it would be the only lead of the match for Bellis as the former World No.1 came roaring back.

Wozniacki kept to her game plan, tracking down every shot and making Bellis play an extra ball to draw out unforced errors. The American's game plan crumbled, rewarding Wozniacki with the break back to level the match 3-3.

The Dane took full command from there, reeling off nine straight games to grab the opening set and take a daunting 4-0 lead in the second, and she went on to serve out a spot in her sixth straight Dubai semifinals.

The unforced errors count marked the difference between Wozniacki and Bellis: while they were almost evenly matched in winners (12 for Wozniacki to 14), Bellis struck more than twice as many unforced errors with 33 against Wozniacki's 15.

"She's just really solid, really solid off the ground and serving well," Bellis explained after the match. "[She was] more consistent than me today. Moved me a lot. I think all that combined.

"She's such a great player. It was really fun for me to see what the highest level is."

Up next the 2011 champion will take on Anastasija Sevastova for a spot in the final. The pair last met in the quarterfinals of the 2016 US Open, with Wozniacki emerging victorious in a comfortable straight sets.

"She's a player that mixes the pace up quite a bit," Wozniacki said. "She's definitely going to try and get me out of my own rhythm. I'm just excited to play and be in the semifinals once again."