The oppressive and debilitating heat which has pervaded Baku since the beginning of this tournament reached a pinnacle today, as play had to be stopped when the heat rule was instituted about an hour into play. It was survival of the fittest, as all the quarter final singles matches were three set affairs.
When the players in the quarter finals eventually completed their matches, the semi final four emerged. They are the number two seed, Alexandra Panova, who had a real battle on her hands against the sixth seed, Nina Bratchikova, eventually coming out on top 2-6 7-6 6-3 in almost three hours on court. Bojana Jovanovski, the fifth seed, had an equally trying time with her opponent, the qualifier from Serbia, Aleksandra Kunic. The final score in this match, which took three and a quarter hours to complete, was 5-7 7-6 6-3.
The duel between the two unseeded players left in the draw, Julia Cohen and Magdalena Rybarikova, was yet another long and tight three setter. The final score was 3-6 6-3 6-4 in favour of Cohen. Olga Puchkova, also unseeded, overcame the tournament’s third seed, Mandy Minella, 2-6 6-1 6-2.
Tomorrow’s semis will see Cohen take on Puchkova, both of whom are unseeded; while Panova will face Jovanovski in the duel of the two remaining seeds.