The BNP Paribas Katowice Open being played this week in Poland is a new destination on the WTA tour and marks the first of the clay court tournaments in Europe which lead up to the French Open which starts at the end of May.
First up on Friday afternoon was the 2nd seeded Italian Roberta Vinci, who played against the 81st ranked Czech wildcard, Karolina Pliskova. Vinci won via a retirement in her first round match and then struggled to get past Kiki Bertens after dropping the first set in her second round match. Pliskova dropped the second set in her first round match against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor and then took out 6th seed Kaia Kanepi in straight sets on her way through this 32 player draw. In the quarters the Italian was in control from the beginning to the end of this encounter, as she won 6-1 6-0 in an hour and seven minutes. Her semi final opponent will be Annika Beck.
Beck, the reigning French Open Junior title holder, had a straight sets win in the first round, followed by a three setter in the second round before she took on the 174th ranked qualifier from Italy, Maria Elena Camerin, in the quarters. Camerin also had a straight sets first round win and then went on to take out 3rd seeded Czech Klara Zakopalova in three, to make it this far. In this match Camerin got the early breaks, but could not hold on to her lead and the German clawed her way back to a first set breaker, which she took 7-1, before steamrolling past the Italian to love in the second set to book her place in the semis.