Former world No. 2 Simona Halep upended fellow Romanian Irina Camelia Begu 6-3, 0-6, 6-1 to reach the Madrid semifinals.
“It wasn’t my best day,” Halep said. “Anyway, if I won means that I played good tennis. I’m confident it was a good match for me.
“I take it like a positive one, even if I gave that second set easy. I was there until the end, and I’m glad that I could control myself until the end.”
Halep, who made the Madrid finals in 2014, was the lone Top 20 player to reach the quarterfinals, and with all the upsets she’s favored to take advantage and win her first title in over a year.
Halep will next meet former US Open champion Sam Stosur who knocked out Halep’s countrywoman and qualifier Patricia Maria Tig 6-3, 6-4 to advance to her first Madrid semifinal.
Halep and Stosur have split six matches but Halep has won their last three.
In the other semifinal, Dominika Cibulkova will be the pick against surprising American Louisa Cherico. The 19-year-old Chirico barely made the qualifying but has caught fire on her favorite clay surface, and after beating Daria Gavrilova 7-6(1), 6-2 she’s into her first WTA semifinal of her young career.
“It’s been pretty cool from the beginning really,” said Chirico who earned a walkover from Victoria Azarenka yesterday. “I actually wasn’t in the draw. I don’t know – yeah, I wasn’t in qualies when I landed in Madrid.
“We landed at 10 minutes to 4pm, which is when the cut closes. We were like, ‘Can you call the supervisor? Am I in?’ Lucky enough to make it in and then qualify and get to where I am now. So it’s been a really exciting ride so far, but I’m not finished.”
Win or lose, the 130th ranked Chirico will become the 13th American woman ranked in the Top 100 come Monday.
Cibulkova needed to win her fourth 3-set match of the tournament eliminating former Top 20 Sorana Cirstea 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
“Actually, I didn’t even realize I’d played all three set matches,” Cibulkova said. “I said to my coach, I feel so good. I don’t feel any pain or nothing. That says how physically good I’m prepared.”
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