DUBAI // In her last two games, Caroline Wozniacki had breezed past her opponents, needing only 60 minutes to down Lucie Safarova and six less to trounce Jie Zheng.
Last night, however, the Dane was kept on the court for two hours and 33 minutes by a battling Marion Bartoli before she could earn her place in the semis with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win.
In last night's later match, Petra Kvitova, the No 6 seed, defeated No 3 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4 to set up a clash with Wozniacki.
Pumping her fists and urging herself on, Bartoli took the fight to Wozniacki, but was let down badly by her serve.
The Frenchwoman made 14 double faults, holding serve in just five of her 13 games. Wozniacki (four double faults) did only slightly better, dropping her serve six times, but the difference was enough for the 2011 Dubai champion to prevail.
"I kept fighting and tried to take the chances I have," Wozniacki said. "I tried to step up with my serve and get my returns in. It's very difficult to play her.
“I thought it was a very high quality match. Usually girls have a first serve and a second serve, but Marion doesn’t have a second serve. She has two first serves. It’s difficult to go in and attack from that. Both serves are at least 150kmph or 160kmph.
“So you just need to be on your toes. She steps in, she’s in the court on your serves, as well. You feel the pressure. But you just need to be ready and you know it’s coming fast at you.”
Wozniacki was not the only one kept waiting by the Bartoli.
In the stands, Diego Maradona sat patiently for he had promised to gift the former world No 1 an autographed Argentine football T-shirt with legend's name and No 10 on the back of it.
In return, the former Al Wasl coach got an autographed tennis racket.
Wildcard Bartoli, who got a walkover to the quarter-finals after Serena Williams pulled out minutes ahead of their second-round clash with a lower back injury, fought for every point and was pleased with the way she felt on the court.
"I'm really happy with my performance," she said.
"I think it was really a great match. Sometimes you still lose these kind of matches, but I haven't felt that good on a tennis court for a long time.
"For now, I'm really happy with that."
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