Tennis

Pliskova saves two match points to reach Pattaya semi

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PATTAYA, Thailand (AP)

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic reached her first WTA semifinal in almost a year after she came back from two match points down to beat third-seeded Sorana Cirstea 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0 in the Pattaya Open on Friday.

Pliskova came up with good serves when she needed them at 4-5, 15-40 in the second set to hold that game, and went on to dominate the tiebreak and third set thanks also to a barrage of unforced errors from Cirstea.

''I didn't expect to win,'' Pliskova said. ''She was playing amazing in the first set and I didn't have any chance to play my game. She was playing fast and she was killing all my second serves. In the second set I was just trying to hold my serves and hoped that in the tiebreak anything could happen.''

Pliskova's last appearance in a semifinal was in Kuala Lumpur last February, when she also went on to claim her first and only singles title.

She faces Julia Georges of Germany, who beat fifth-seeded Elena Vesina of Russia 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

''I'm happy that I've won hard matches here,'' Pliskova said. ''I played my last semifinal in Kuala Lumpur which is almost a year. So I'm happy that I'm not going to lose (ranking) points.''

In another quarterfinal, Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic upset eighth-seeded Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 7-5.

Hlavackova, a doubles specialist who has two Grand Slam doubles titles, will have to go through fourth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia or Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm to reach her second singles final.

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