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Tennis | WTA

Caroline Wozniacki © Gallo Images

Wozniacki, Kvitova into New Haven semis



Former winner Caroline Wozniacki and reigning champ Petra Kvitova beat a pair of WTA young guns in Connecticut on Thursday to reach the semis of the New Haven Open, the final tune-up for the US Open.

Four-time winner Wozniacki defeated American wildcard Sloane Stephens 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 in a quarterfinal contest at the Yale University hardcourt facility.

The former world No 1 Wozniacki, who is seeded fourth this week, captured the New Haven event four years in a row from 2008-11.

The third-seeded Czech Kvitova fought back from a first-set stumble to outlast Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.

The former Wimbledon champion Kvitova topped Russian Maria Kirilenko in last year's New Haven final.

Kvitova lost six more points than she won in her rain-delayed match against Pavlyuchenkova, but came back from 40-15 down in the last game to break her opponent's serve and post the win.

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"It's important to have matches like these where you have to fight until the end where you're not necessarily playing your best. That's part of tennis," Kvitova said.

"Of course, I prefer shorter, two set matches, but I won the last point and that's the important thing."

Kvitova is now two wins away from defending a title for the first time.

"I think coming back to a place where you played very well the last year, you have a lot of emotions and you know the pressure is there as defending champion, and you're defending a lot of points," Kvitova said. "But on the other hand, you know that you can play well here. "

In other matches, surging Romanian Simona Halep beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1, 7-6 (8/6), while Czech Klara Zakopalova earned 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 triumph over 2009 New Haven runner-up Elena Vesnina.

The 21-year-old Halep, who is seeking her fourth title in seven tournaments, will take on Wozniacki in the semis, while Zakopalova will go up against Kvitova in an all-Czech semi.

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