Dubai, Feb 20: Caroline Wozniacki overcame a persistent fever, a seed-beater, difficulties with her first serve, and a late night finish to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Open for the fifth successive time on Thursday.
The former world number one from Denmark's 7-5, 6-0 win over the world number 14 from Italy, Flavia Pennetta, confirmed the feeling that she is gradually edging her way back towards the summit, even though her standard was not always all she wanted.
Wozbiacki twice conceded early breaks of serve before repairing the damage, and was unable to force her advantage home when she was twice within two points of taking the first set.
She nevertheless struck her ground strokes consistently, if not always as forcibly as she has recently.
Once she had a set in the bag Wozniacki accelerated her progress encouragingly against an opponent who had dismissed the seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber the previous day.
"Obviously with the way I have been feeling this week, I'm just trying to save as much energy as I can for all the matches I have to play," Wozniacki said.
"I'm definitely very pleased with the way I have played and the way I fought. Even when I haven't felt good, I've still managed to win.
"But today, you know, with the fever down, I definitely felt much better. Hopefully it's a step in the right direction, and I don't mind being sick for the rest of this week because obviously that's bringing me some good luck."
Wozniacki next plays the top seed, Simona Halep, who had a much closer call to reach the semis. AFP