Photos by Nida Alibhai
(February 19, 2015) Dubai UAE – Top seeded Simona Halep will play third seeded Caroline Wozniacki, and 17th seed Karolina Pliskova will play unseeded Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday.
It took Halep two hours and seven minutes to beat Etkaterina Makarova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 and avenge her defeat by in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last month. Wozniacki withstood a competitive first set to beat Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-0.
Pliskova needed two hours 26 minutes to rally past Lucie Safarova 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-1 and Muguruza took two hours 19 minutes to overcome Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-3.
Halep failed to serve out the match at 5-3 and then needing five match points to clinch the win.
“I didn’t believe in my serve at that moment, and I just tried to finish very quickly and wasn’t good idea,” said Halep. “I was very nervous, and I wanted just to hit winners. It’s not possible at this level, and she’s a good player. I’m really happy that I could finish in the right way and to win, because it was a tough match.”
Wozniacki has been struggling with a sore throat this week.
“I knew that when I’m out there I need to focus 100% on each point,” said Wozniacki. “I can’t just give loose ones away, because that means longer time on court which means I have less of a chance of winning, so especially like now. I think that’s definitely helped me focus.”
Pliskova’s win was her second in two weeks over Safarova after she also won their quarter-final match in Antwerp, but she had to work hard to gain an advantage.
“I would say that she deserved to win as well. I’m a little bit sorry for her,” said Pliskova, “I called coach and he really helped me, and that’s probably the main thing why I won the second set, and then why I won the third set as well.”
Muguruza beat her friend, doubles partner and fellow Spaniard Suarez Navarro.
“I was sad because I lost the first set, but I said, ‘If I want to win this match I cannot play bad the second set’,” said Muguruza. “My only chance is to win the second set and try to have chances to win the match. So I said, Okay, the second set I’m going to give it all, and if I win I will have options to win the match.”
DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS – DUBAI, UAE
15-21 FEBRUARY 2015
RESULTS – FEBRUARY 19, 2015
Singles – Quarterfinals
 S. Halep (ROU) d  E. Makarova (RUS) 63 16 75
 C. Wozniacki (DEN) d  [WC] F. Pennetta (ITA) 75 60
 K. Pliskova (CZE) d  L. Safarova (CZE) 36 76(5) 61
G. Muguruza (ESP) d  C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 67(4) 63 63
Doubles – Quarterfinals
 C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO) d  E Makarova (RUS) / E Vesnina (RUS) 75 62
 G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP) d A Rodionova (AUS) / A Rodionova (AUS) 75 64
 T Babos (HUN) / K Mladenovic (FRA) d M Niculescu (ROU) / A Panova (RUS) 76(6) 64
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J Goerges (GER) / A Groenefeld (GER) 75 76(1)
ORDER OF PLAY – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2015
CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
 T Babos (HUN) / K Mladenovic (FRA) vs  C Garcia (FRA) / K Srebotnik (SLO)
Not Before 5:00 pm
 K. Pliskova (CZE) vs G. Muguruza (ESP)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 S. Halep (ROU) vs  C. Wozniacki (DEN)
A Kudryavtseva (RUS) / A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) vs  G Muguruza (ESP) / C Suárez Navarro (ESP)