WUHAN (AFP) – World number three Petra Kvitova overcame Caroline Garcia to power through to the semi-finals of the $2.4 million WTA Wuhan Open, while Canadian sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard also made it into the last four.
Garcia had previously performed heroics at the inaugural tournament, beating Venus Williams and world number six Agnieszka Radwanska to make the quarter finals, but the Wimbledon champion proved to be too much for the 20-year-old.
Garcia took only one game in the opening five, before Kvitova, the third seed in Wuhan, went on to win the set 6-3.
The pair matched each other early on in the second set before Kvitova broke serve in the seventh game and closed in on victory by taking the set 6-4.
The Czech will now play either German seventh seed Angelique Kerber or Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in Friday’s semi-final.
Garcia, who is ranked 49th, has won one WTA title in her career, at Bogota in April.
Kvitova told reporters after the match that she felt the conditions in Wuhan suited her game.
“The court feels a little bit faster… and that probably is what suits my game,” she said.
“I just feel well here. The people are coming to support us every time, so it’s beautiful to see them there. I feel good, and I work(ed) hard before I came here.”
But it was heartbreak for Alize Cornet, who went out after putting up late resistance against sixth seed Bouchard.
The pair traded breaks early on before Bouchard claimed the first set 6-3.
Cornet appeared to argue with the umpire in the first game of the second set after a video showed that she had served an ace, but it was ruled out.
She lost her serve two games later and Bouchard looked to be cruising with the scores at 5-2.
The world number 22 staged a revival which saw her claw her way back to 5-5, but the Canadian took the remaining games in quick succession.
Cornet has been in a terrific form in China, having reached the final of the WTA Guangzhou Open last Saturday.
She also became the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to gain three victories over world number one Serena Williams in a season when the top seed in Wuhan retired from their second round match with a viral illness.
Her other victories over the American power-hitter came at Wimbledon in June and in Dubai in February.
Bouchard will go on to play the winner of the other quarter final in Wuhan, which will see Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky face off with world number seven Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
The Wuhan Open in the central province of Hubei features the world’s top 20 women players and reaches its climax on Saturday.