Hantuchova to face Niculescu in Luxembourg semifinals

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Both unseeded and in the bottom half of the draw, two veterans of the WTA tour, Slovak Daniela Hantchova and Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino met in the first match on centre court at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg 2012 tournament on Friday afternoon. Dominguez Lino is ranked at 54, while Hantuchova is currently at number 38. The former got the better of Aranxa Rus in a three setter in the first round and Kirsten Flipkens in the second, while Dominguez Lino beat the qualifier Tatjana Malek first and then Magdalena Rybarikova in the second, so neither of them had faced a seeded player on their way to the quarters. The first set was tight, with Hantuchova edging it 7-5, but ran through an easy second set with a 6-0 scoreline and the match was over in an hour and a half. She will meet the Roumanian, Monica Niculescu, in the semis.

Monica Niculescu, ranked at 70, took on the hard hitting Czech Lucie Hradecka, ranked at 47 in the second match. In the first round she defeated Romina Oprandi in straight sets and took out the tournament’s number 2 seed, Julia Goerges, easily in the second round, while Hradecka topped the number 7 seed Tamira Paszek in straights in the first round; and the qualifier Annika Beck in round two. In her quarter final match, Niculescu showed her wily all court play and great talent to take the first set very quickly to love, as Hradecka’s booming serve failed her. The second set was closer, but one break sealed the set 6-4 to see the Roumanian safely into the semis.

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