Petkovic, Pliskova land in Diamond Games semis

Antwerp, Belgium ( – No. 3 seed Andrea Petkovic and
rising Czech star Karolina Pliskova were a pair of a straight-set quarterfinal
victors Friday at the Diamond Games tennis event.

The German Petkovic, who will re-join the Top 10 for the first time in three
years next week, handled sixth-seeded former Australian Open runner-up
Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 to set-up a semifinal bout with
Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

The eighth-seeded Pliskova upended fourth-seeded fellow Czech Lucie Safarova
7-6 (7-5), 6-3 on the indoor hardcourts at Sportpaleis Merksem. Both
women struck eight aces, but Pliskova saved four break points and broke
Safarova’s serve on her first opportunity in the second set.

The world No. 22 Pliskova’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be fifth-
seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro, who handled 34-year-old Italian
qualifier and former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile, another Czech winner came in the form of the aforementioned
Zahlavova Strycova, who drubbed German Mona Barthel 6-2, 6-2 to reach the
final four.

The 2015 Antwerp champion will pocket $113,000.