WTA

Home favourite Jabeur stunned by Liu, Swiatek safely through in Ostrava

By Sports Desk October 07, 2022

Home favourite Ons Jabeur was on the end of a big upset at the Jasmin Open on Friday as the world number two was eliminated by Claire Liu in the quarter-finals.

Jabeur saw off Ann Li and Evgeniya Rodina in straight sets to reach the last eight, but Liu – ranked 73 in the world – came out on top 6-3 4-6 6-4.

Liu is now into her second semi-final of the season and will face Elise Mertens, who defeated Moyuka Uchijima 6-0 3-6 6-4 in the final match of the day.

Second and third seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Alize Cornet will meet in the other semi after beating Diane Parry and Tamara Zidansek respectively in straight sets.

At the Ostrava Open, meanwhile, tournament favourite Iga Swiatek reached her 10th semi-final of the year with a 6-4 6-4 victory over qualifier Caty McNally.

Swiatek needed nearly two hours to seal her 59th victory of the season – just one short of tying Caroline Wozniacki, the most recent female to hit 60 wins in a calendar year (2017).

She will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova, who proved too strong for Tereza Martincova in a 6-1 4-6 6-1 victory.

Another grand slam winner in Barbora Krejcikova earlier beat Alycia Parks 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 on home soil to maintain her positive form, a week after triumphing at the Tallinn Open.

Awaiting her in the semi-finals is Elena Rybakina following the reigning Wimbledon champion's 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 victory against Petra Kvitova.

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    The three-time grand slam champion has been forced to fend off retirement talk following a string of first-round defeats and looked set for another early exit when Shapovalov, a former top 10 player, took the opening set.

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    “I obviously still love competing and still love the game, but it gets harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys and keep your body fit and fresh.

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    Murray won his most recent meeting against Shapovalov, but that was in 2022 and he entered this match in torrid form with only one win this year.

    Shapovalov signalled his intent with three aces in his opening service game before the duo traded a number of early holds.

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    Murray let his frustration show after his wayward backhand gifted Shapovalov the initiative and chucked his racket at the court before the Canadian closed out the opener with two more aces.

    Former world number one Murray produced a strong response at the start of the second set and remarkably produced three successful challenges on his serve.

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    Andy Murray dug deep to secure a second win of 2024 with a 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Dubai Open.

    The three-time grand-slam champion has been forced to fend off retirement talk following a string of first-round defeats and looked set for another when Shapovalov, a former top-10 player, claimed the opening set.

    Murray had struggled to breach the serve of his 24-year-old opponent, but produced a trademark gutsy display to edge a second-set tie-breaker and kept his composure to break twice in the decider to secure a much-needed win after two hours and 33 minutes.

    The most recent meeting between the duo went to Murray, but that was in 2022 and he entered this match in torrid form with only one win this year.

    Shapovalov signalled his intent with three aces in his opening service game before the duo traded a number of early holds.

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    Murray let his frustration show after his wayward backhand gifted Shapovalov the initiative and chucked his racket at the court before the Canadian closed out the opener with two more aces.

    Former world number one Murray produced a strong response at the start of the second set and remarkably produced three successful challenges on his serve.

     

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    Buoyed by his eagle-eyes, Murray followed this up with a first break point opportunity and, while it came and went, the 36-year-old did break Shapovalov at the next time of asking to move 3-1 up.

     

    Shapovalov had sent down two double-faults to aid Murray’s cause, but hit back immediately with a break of his own before he consolidated it after a 10-minute service game which included a 137mph ace.

    Murray had to display his trademark battling skills to keep the second set on serve at 4-4 and a tie-breaker was ultimately required.

    Several mini-breaks followed, but it was Murray who made sure the match went the distance after he edged a marathon 75-minute set with an excellent trade-off with Shapovalov after he came into the net.

    Shapovalov’s serve had let him down towards the end of the second set and his struggles continued with two double-faults to begin the third.

    It handed Murray the ascendancy and he was able to consolidate with a succession of quick holds to move within sight of a precious victory.

    Murray had to work hard to hold in the eighth game of the decider and it broke Shapovalov’s resistance with the Canadian broken again to hand the Briton a confidence-boosting 500th hard-court win of his career.

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