Safina Overwhelms Benesova to Reach Prague Semifinal

Posted on May 14, 2005

Top seed Dinara “Lil Sis” Safina cruised past her doubles partner and local favorite Iveta Benesova 6-1, 6-4 in the Prague quarterfinals on Friday. The 19-year-old Safina is seeking her fourth career title, having won tournaments at Sopot in 2002, Palermo in 2003 and her biggest at the Paris Indoors earlier this year.

Second-seeded Czech Klara “Kooky” Koukalova was kooky just enough to defeat American vet Jill Craybas 6-3, 6-4 and give the locals something to cheer about.

In the semifinals, Safina will face 123rd-ranked qualifier Laura Pous Tio of Spain, while Koukalova will play 98th-ranked Czech Zuzana Ondraskova.

Pous Tio is making just her second main draw appearance on the WTA Tour while Ondraskova is making her first semifinal appearance.

Koukalova and Ondraskova have split two career meetings, with Koukalova victorious at Ortisei in 2003, and Ondraskova a winner at Antwerp the same year. Safina and Pous Tio will be meeting for the first time.

In Friday's doubles semifinals, No.2 seeds Emilie Loit and Nicole Pratt ousted the unseeded Czech pair of Olga Blahotova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-11, but top seeds Benesova and Safina weren't so lucky, losing 7-6(4), 6-2 to Kostanic and Barbora Strycova, who were unseeded.