Andrea Petkovic doesn't need a big crowd to get the party started. Having waltzed her way past top seed Nina Bratchikova, the German celebrated victory with her trademark 'Petko dance' even though the gallery was almost empty.
The sixth seed, on a comeback trail after a long injury lay-off, was sharp and swift as she crushed the Russian 6-2, 6-0 in 55 minutes to enter the semifinal of the Royal Indian Open on Friday.
"I was actually not sure whether I should do the dance," she said later. "Then I thought even if I could make those few people happy it is worth it."
Petkovic had already brought cheer to the small crowd with an almost flawless display. Chiseled to almost athletic perfection, the German plays a mean game. And she fired winners with such consistent precision that even the big-built Bratchikova shriveled with each passing point.
The Russian won only 11 points on Petkovic's serve and 17 on her own.
Class is permanent
Coming into the tournament ranked 139, a massive slip from the ninth best player in the world only a year ago, Petkovic has stamped her class on the tournament since a nervous start in the first round. In the last two matches she has lost only three games.
"I was so sharp and focused today," said Petkovic. "That was really important because matches like these turn in a minute. The first match I played here was really bad, because I was doubting myself. But I have played okay since then and am just happy I have been able to keep up my game each day."
Having spent most of last year nursing her back and ankle injury, Petkovic's just happy to be on the court, much better dancing all the way into the semifinal. She next faces Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, who progressed into the semifinal after her Thai opponent Luksika Kumkhum conceded the match at 7-6 (3), 1-4.
In the other quarterfinals, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Tamarine Tanasugarn won to set up a grand semifinal battle Playing her third match in 24 hours, the 42-year-old Date-Krumm fought through fatigue to defeat fellow Japanese and second seed Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-4. An hour and a half later, Tanasugarn, 35, got the better of the 16-year-old third seed Donna Vekic 6-2, 6-4.