- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Top-seeded Simona Halep needed five match points before finally defeating sixth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Thursday.

“I was a little bit nervous to finish,” said Halep, who served for the match at 5-3 in the third set. “Sometimes you feel like that. So you have to stay very focused and to fight for every point.”

Halep’s victory at Dubai Tennis Stadium set up a semifinal match against third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, a former Dubai champion in 2011.

Wozniacki, who has been nursing a cold all week, beat 10th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy 7-5, 6-0, winning the last eight games.

“With the way I’ve been feeling this week I was trying to save as much energy as I can,” the Dane said. “I definitely very pleased with the way I’ve fought and still managed to win.”

For the second consecutive week, Karolina Pliskova advanced to the semifinals of a tournament by beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Pliskova recovered from a set and a service break down to win 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1.

The 18-year-old Pliskova, seeded 17th, defeated Safarova in straight sets last week in Antwerp, Belgium. She will next face unseeded Garbine Muguruza.

The 24th-ranked Muguruza beat 13th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Spanish match.

Suarez Navarro, who withdrew from the final in Antwerp with a neck injury, was the player who defeated Pliskova in last week’s semifinals.

“I had three set points in the first set so I was sad,” Muguruza said. “I said if I want to win this match I cannot play bad. I knew I would have options to win the match if I won the second set.”

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