No top 5 seeds made it to the Madrid semifinals after Thursday play. Top seed and World No. 1 Simona Halep was dismissed in routine fashion by Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3.
A day after beating Kristyna, the 2-time defending champion Halep had no answer for Karolina who has now won her last nine matches.
“I never really thought I can beat her,” Pliskova said of her 1-6 mark against Halep entering. “This time somehow today I felt like I will have for sure chances – even the warmup I felt so good,” she mused.
“But in the game overall I think I didn’t change much. I just was serving little bit different, more clever, not only the speed, but just to get the percentage, sometimes mix it up the speed, the kick which was quite working, just holding my serves.”
The Stuttgart winner will now meet 2-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova who knocked out Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 6-0.
Like her countrywoman, Kvitova has also won her last nine!
“It’s always just one winner, so one of us will end the streak, but I’m already pretty satisfied with my performance on the clay: in Prague, here, in the Fed Cup,” said Kvitova. “I’m enjoying it. I will try to continue it tomorrow, but I know how tough it will be.”
Maria Sharapova’s run ended on Thursday. The Russian beat a Kiki yesterday (Mladenovic), but today couldn’t do it again, falling to Kiki Bertens 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“I think there are definitely a few that I can take away from this,” Sharapova said. “But I also look at these types of matches, I see a lot of things I should be better at, I should improve at. I think it’s a combination of, yes, taking the positives, but also being a little tough on yourself and expecting a little bit more from yourself. That’s the only way to improve. You can’t keep giving yourself a pat on the back.
“Of course, it was great to get those wins against those few players. But there’s a reason I came up short today. You want to also evaluate that and go back to the drawing board and start over again.”
Bertens will take on Caroline Garcia, a winner over Carla Suarez Navarro.
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