While our photographer Jimmie48 is on his way from Belgium to the United Arab Emirates, where he’ll be working to bring us exclusive coverage from the $2,513,000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the second year in a row, the semifinals have been set at the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in Antwerp.
Let’s start this report with the final match of the day, as it featured the highest remaining seed, No.3 Andrea Petkovic (No.1 Eugenie Bouchard and No.2 Angelique Kerber lost their openers yesterday), who had saved as much as eight match points against Alison van Uytvanck in the second round, and today against Dominika Cibulkova she wasted as many set points in multiple games of the first set before finally converting her ninth to win the tiebreak.
With her fiancé Miso Navara supporting from the stands, the sixth-seeded Cibulkova was the first to take charge in the match, but her lead was never too big and Petkovic was successfully catching up before turning the result in her favor midway through the set. And although the German soon had a chance to capitalize on her lead, in particular at 5-3, she won the set much later, after wasting eight set points, some on her serve and some on the serve of her opponent. The second set was completely different, as Petkovic broke Cibulkova to love in the second and fourth games, and capitalized on her first match point to break the Slovak one last time for a 7-6(2) 6-0 victory. Petkovic’s semifinal opponent will be Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who ousted Mona Barthel 6-2 6-2.
Earlier in the day, the first semifinal was set, as Karolina Pliskova and Carla Suarez Navarro outdid their challenging opponents, Lucie Safarova and Francesca Schiavone, respectively.
In the all-Czech quarterfinal, the eighth-seeded Pliskova saved four out of four break points and one break of Safarova’s serve was enough for the more famous Pliskova twin to squeeze into the Antwerp semifinals. In the quarterfinal featuring Grand Slam champion Schiavone, who had worked her way through qualifying to enter the main draw, fifth seed Carla Suarez Navarro overcame the initial 3-0 deficit and eventually made her first Premier-level semifinals with a decisive 6-3 6-2 scoreline.