BUCHAREST, Romania - No.3 seed Julia Goerges denied the home fans an all-Romanian final at the BRD Bucharest Open on Friday, as she edged qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5, to round out the last four.
With the victory, the German reaches her fourth semifinal of the season, and will face the Cinderella story of the tournament, Ana Bogdan, for a spot in her second final of the year.
"I feel very good. It was a big battle today, Alexandra played a very solid match and she didn't make any easy mistakes, so I had to play for it," Goerges said. "I really had to work for every point and being aggressive. I am very happy to be in the semifinals."
Playing for just the second time in their careers, there was little to separate the two 28-year-olds in the opening set in what was a match of contrasting styles.
Thought Goerges served at just 46 percent for the set, and Dulgheru served at 84 percent, the duo combined for three love holds and dropped just 10 points on serve over the first 11 games.
Looking to be the aggressor for the entirety of the set, the German struck first, as she connected on the Dulgheru serve in the 12th game for the lone break of the opener. On set point, Goerges blasted a return winner with her trademark forehand to wrap up the first set after 47 minutes.
Goerges hit 11 of her 19 winners off the forehand in the opening set, with her final tally coming on set point, as she nearly balanced out a total of 20 unforced errors. On the other side of the net, Dulgher struck just one winner to five unforced errors, ensuring that Goerges had to earn each of the 34 point she won in the set.
After she saw a break point pass her by in Dulgheru's first service game of the second set, Georges earned herself an early break in the second set in the fourth game, and looked on course for a decisive straight sets victory late in the night.
However, the former World No.26, who has been beseiged by injury in recent seasons, showed some of the form that took her to five career top 10 wins in the enusing game, as she created her first break of serve in the match and hung tough with the German for the duration of the match.
After the next six games went with serve, however, Goerges produced nearly a carbon copy of the opener - as she created a 15-40 lead on the Romanian's serve, only to wrap up the match on her third match point. The German totalled 39 winners with seven aces at the close of two sets, finishing in the positive overall with 37 unforced errors.
Looking forward to facing another Romanian in the final four, Goerges said: "The crowd was very respectful [tonight]. Of course, they support their own girls, that's usual in every nation, but they were very fair on both sides and when I played a good point they also cheered for me," Goerges said. "I haven't thought about tomorrow, but my main goal is to focus on myself, on my game, because she already beat a few good players here. I know she will have the crowd behind her, but now I'm kind of used to it."