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Tennis: Caroline Wozniacki outlasts Sloane Stephens

Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

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Petra Kvitova advanced by beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

NEW HAVEN — Caroline Wozniacki took some time to reminisce after moving into the semifinals in New Haven for the sixth consecutive year.

‘‘It’s unbelievable how the time flies,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve played a lot of good matches, a lot of tough matches. I’ve had rain delays. I’ve played indoors, outdoors in the heat, night sessions. I’ve played with some wind, with a hurricane coming in. You know, I played with a bit of everything.’’

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The four-time tournament champion beat American Sloane Stephens, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 Thursday, improving her record to 23-1 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, with her lone loss coming a year ago when she had to retire from the semifinals because of a knee injury.

‘‘I don’t think there’s many players that have won an event four times already,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m pretty proud of my achievement actually.’’

The former No. 1 player in the world will play Simona Halep Friday. The Romanian beat Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).

The other semifinal will feature two players from the Czech Republic. Defending champion Petra Kvitova beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. She will face Klara Zakopolova, who came from a set down to beat Russian Elena Vesnina, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4.

Stephens, the 20-year-old rising American star, stayed with Wozniacki early and was serving for the set after breaking the Danish star in the ninth game. But Wozniacki broke back to tie the set at 5-5 and never trailed in the tiebreaker, winning 8-6.

Wozniacki broke Stephens in the third game of the second set, and put the match away with another break to go up, 5-2.

‘‘We both were playing well,’’ said Stephens, who is still looking for her first WTA tournament title.

Kvitova needed three sets and a full day to make her return to the semifinals. Rain delayed the start of play in the early matches by more than an hour and a half, and she was forced to sit through a second, hour-long rain delay, during play.

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