Despite a week of upsets, the Miami women’s tournament will have an all-Top 5 battle in the semifinals of the bottom half of the draw tonight. Former No. 1s Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced to their meeting and straight set wins on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
Halep overcame a 5-1 second set hole and three set points to deny Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-5.
“Until 1-5 down I was not great,” Halep said. “I started to be negative, to talk around the court. But I was able to stop, and then it was much better. I focused on the game.
“I feel happiness because I start to feel the ball, so I can relax and enjoy the time I’m out there. It gives me confidence that I am able to do beautiful points. When I play like this, it makes me feel happy.”
Halep is now just one win away from returning to No. 1.
“It gives me confidence, because from the two months of the off-season, I didn’t believe I would be so close again so fast,” Halep said. “So it’s going to be a big challenge, but I like to play with the pressure. So I hope tomorrow I play my best.”
In the evening, Pliskova rolled early against teen countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova before having to fight from a break down to take the match 6-3, 6-4.
“I think I improved…I was a little bit off for a couple of games, and she also played some good shots and served well. I won a tight first set, and the games were pretty close,” Pliskova told wtatennis.com after the match..
“Overall, I think the match was maybe my best here. She’s defending so well, so I always had to play the extra shot, but I think it was a good level.”
Halep has won seven of 10 against Pliskova including a 6-0 practice set this week that Pliskova joked about.
“I think she was also playing some tough matches, so I think there’s going to be a chance,” said Pliskova. “My level is improving, my game is improving, so I think it’s going to be a good match, if nothing more.
“I think for sure, there’s going to be a chance to win. Every time we play, I feel like there is a chance. Of course, the head-to-head is not perfect for me, but there is always a chance.”
Anett Kontaveit and Ash Barty will meet in the early semifinal for a spot in their biggest final.
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