WTA

Kvitova ends Kerber's reign in Sydney

By Sports Desk January 10, 2019

Petra Kvitova ended Angelique Kerber's reign as Sydney International champion with a straight-sets quarter-final victory, while Alize Cornet is the only seed in the last four of the Hobart International. 

Kvitova and Kerber had claimed six wins apiece in their previous 12 meetings and it was the fifth seed who edged in front in the head-to-head with a 6-4 6-1 win on Thursday following frustrating rain delays.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova claimed five titles to return to the top 10 in the rankings last year and looks in good shape to make her presence felt at the Australian Open after toppling Kerber in impressive fashion.

Kerber claimed the first break after two early stoppages due to the weather, but Kvitova rallied to win four games in a row and take the opening set.

The Czech will take on qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the last four after breaking her fellow left-hander twice in the second set to seal a late-night victory at around 11.30pm local time.

Sasnovich also advanced in straight sets, seeing off Timea Bacsinszky 6-3 6-3.

Home hope Ashleigh Barty followed up her win over world number one Simona Halep by taking out 10th seed Elise Mertens 6-3 6-3 and will play seventh seed Kiki Bertens, who lost only four games in a defeat of Yulia Putintseva.

Sofia Kenin spoiled Kirsten Flipkens' 33rd birthday in Hobart, beating the seventh seed 7-5 7-5.

Kenin, who upset top seed Caroline Garcia in the first round, will come up against Cornet in the last four after the sixth seed saw off Greet Minnen 6-1 6-4.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Belinda Bencic will contest the other semi-final following straight-sets victories over Irina-Camelia Begu and Dayana Yastremska respectively.

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    US Open champion Naomi Osaka emerged from the jaws of defeat against Hsieh Su-wei to reach the Australian Open last 16.

    Japanese star Osaka was down a set and 4-1 in the second before rallying to a 5-7 6-4 6-1 win after almost two hours in Melbourne on Saturday.

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    Consecutive sprayed forehands, a shot into the net and a wide backhand typified Osaka's set as Hsieh closed out the set.

    The usually calm and composed Osaka - who has never reached the Australian Open quarter-finals - threw her racquet at the end of the set, earning a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Osaka had more to be upset about in the second set, falling 3-0 and 4-1 behind, but she suddenly clicked into gear and won five successive games to avoid elimination and 10 of the next 11 to earn a showdown with either Anastasija Sevastova or Wang Qiang.

     

    STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
    Osaka [4] bt Hsieh [28] 5-7 6-4 6-1

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS 
    Osaka - 41/42
    Hsieh - 28/31

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS  ​
    Osaka - 8/1
    Hsieh - 0/6

    BREAK POINTS WON 
    Osaka - 7/11
    Hsieh - 4/15

    FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE 
    Osaka - 61
    Hsieh - 73

    PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE 
    Osaka - 63/51
    Hsieh - 59/33

    TOTAL POINTS 
    Osaka - 102
    Hsieh - 89

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