Errani sets up exciting semis against Bencic


Dubai: The women’s singles semi-finals at the 20th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge will witness a mouth-watering clash between two former top-10 players when Italian Sara Errani takes on Belinda Bencic at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa on Friday.

Both players secured contrasting wins in their quarter-finals with former World No. 5 Errani digging in deep to win 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 in nearly two and a half hours of intense action, after former world No. 7 Bencic had got past second seed Mihaela Buzarnescu 7-6 (4), 6-2, on Thursday.

Errani, who rose to her career best No. 5 in 2013, was a losing finalist at the 2012 French Open. In the same year she went on to make the semi-final of the US Open. Ten years junior to Errani, the Swiss-born Bencic is a former junior champion at the French Open and Wimbledon in 2013.

“This is a match that is as good as a final on any of the top WTA tournaments,” ITF adviser Hani Al Khafief told Gulf News.

“Entry for the tournament is free and it would be a fantastic treat to tennis fans in the UAE,” he added.

Stefanie Voegele became the second Swiss girl in the last four stages with the least bit of trouble after her opponent Dalila Jakupovic — the only player who had come through the qualifying rounds — withdrew with a neck injury. “I welcome this unexpected result. It is good to have a semi-final spot for the first time here,” Voegele told Gulf News.

“I realise I am just two matches away from the title. But it has to be one match at a time while keeping total focus. What is more important now is to recover and get prepared mentally for my semi-final against my next opponent [Ajla Tomljanovic],” she added.

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