WTA

Raducanu cruises into Korea Open semi-finals

By Sports Desk September 23, 2022

Emma Raducanu raced into her first semi-final of 2022 by beating Magda Linette at the Korea Open, teeing up a meeting with top seed Jelena Ostapenko. 

Raducanu required just 77 minutes to see off the third seed for a 6-2 6-2 win, dominating from the outset to clinch her first final four spot in any tournament since last year's famous US Open triumph.

Having wrapped up the opener with a fierce backhand winner, Raducanu was forced to endure a brief revival from Linette in the second set, before the Pole was troubled by a thigh injury.

Linette lost 14 of the first 17 points on resumption after a medical time out, struggling with her movement as Raducanu saw out the match.

Raducanu has yet to drop a set during her run in Seoul, but will face a stern test in the semi-finals after Ostapenko overcame 17-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2 6-1, setting up a first career meeting between the duo.

On the other side of the draw, Ekaterina Alexandrova earned a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (8-6) win over Lulu Radovcic, but fourth seed Zhu Lin crashed out to Tatjana Maria, losing 6-1 6-1.

In the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza fell to a shock 6-4 6-2 quarter-final defeat to Liudmila Samsonova, handing the Russian her 16th win in her last 17 outings.

She will meet Zhang Shuai in the next round, after she became the first Chinese player to make the last four in Tokyo since 2009 by beating Petra Martic 7-5 6-2. 

In a battle between the competition's fourth and fifth seeds, meanwhile, Veronika Kudermetova rallied to beat Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.

 

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    Bento will not be present for the game after receiving a red card at the end of the 3-2 defeat to Ghana, furiously reacting to referee Anthony Taylor's decision to blow the full-time whistle after his team had won a corner.

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    South Korea – Son Heung-min

    Son was always going to be the main man for his country, but so far the Tottenham attacker has been unable to show his true worth in Qatar.

    He has been a generational talent for his country, though. Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Son has scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than any other South Korea player (137).

    Son also had the most shots (40), shots on target (19), scored the most goals (5) and created the most chances (27) of any player for South Korea during qualifying.

    Portugal – Bruno Fernandes

    While most eyes have been on Ronaldo, as ever, his former Manchester United team-mate has been the real MVP of the World Cup for his country so far.

    Fernandes has been involved in four of Portugal's five goals (two goals, two assists), and is only the second player this century to have registered multiple goals and assists in a team's first two group-stage matches, after Karim Benzema for France in 2014.

    He also created 21 chances in qualifying, more than any other Portuguese player.

    PREDICTION

    Portugal lack a desperate need for a result in terms of winning the group, and the Opta prediction model does not have them as overwhelming favourites, though Santos' men are still expected to win with a victory chance percentage of 58.4.

    The draw, which like a Portugal win is of no use either to South Korea's hopes, is rated at 22.3 per cent, while that all important victory for the Taegeuk Warriors is given a 19.3 per cent chance.

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