WTA

Barty and Halep through to Stuttgart Open semi-finals

By Sports Desk April 23, 2021

World number one Ash Barty survived a scare to reach the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a 2-6 6-1 7-5 win over Karolina Pliskova.

The Australian started slowly in the quarter-final of the WTA 500 tournament on Friday as Pliskova broke her serve twice in taking the first set, before Barty hit back with three breaks of her own to force a decider.

Barty was two points away from losing on five occasions as world number nine Pliskova served for the match at 5-4 in the final set.

But she broke the Czech's resolve eventually, sealing victory when Pliskova hit the ball long after a baseline rally.

The win was Barty's eighth consecutive victory over a top-10 opponent and she said in a media conference afterwards that facing top players in the world brings the best out of her.

"When you come up against top-10 opponents, you have to go to that level above to be able to compete. They force you to bring your best," Barty said.

"With a lot of the girls in the top 10, we've had plenty of matches that have gone either way, different experiences, so each time I love that challenge of testing myself against the best."

Barty will face Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals after she saved two match points to claim a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova.

In the other half of the draw, Simona Halep breezed through to the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-4 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Halep clinically closed out the first set, and although Alexandrova showed more fight in the second, the world number three did not allow her a route back into the match.

Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka following the Belarusian's 7-5 4-6 6-1 win over Anett Kontaveit.

In the Istanbul Cup, top seed Elise Mertens secured her place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova.

Mertens will face Veronika Kudermetova who fought back from a set down to clinch a 2-6 6-3 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan.

The other semi-final will see Sorana Cirstea play Marta Kostyuk. Cirstea progressed after Fiona Ferro, trailing 6-4, retired through injury while Kostyuk beat Ana Konjuh 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Related items

  • French Open: Tsitsipas says fellow stars driving him to improve after cruising past Ymer French Open: Tsitsipas says fellow stars driving him to improve after cruising past Ymer

    Stefanos Tsitsipas said the consistency of his rivals has pushed him to become a better athlete after he eased into the French Open's last-16 with a 6-2 6-2 6-1 win over Mikael Ymer.

    Having fought back from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round before downing Zdenek Kolar in an absorbing four-set contest featuring three tie-breaks, the Greek enjoyed a more routine outing against the 23-year-old Swede.

    Fourth seed Tsitsipas, who finished as runner-up at Roland Garros in 2021 after squandering a two-set final lead against Novak Djokovic, has been tipped for a serious tilt at a first Grand Slam title after landing on the opposite side of the draw to many of the pre-tournament favourites.

    The world number four cannot meet any of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, or Carlos Alcaraz until the final, seemingly giving him a shot of atoning for his final disappointment last year.

    After storming to a dominant win over Ymer, the 23-year-old said the excellence of tennis' fellow leading lights has motivated him to change his lifestyle to further his chances of success.  

    "Well, I will tell you that I respect a lot the top three for having been so incredibly consistent the last couple of years," he told a post-match press conference.

    "I have questioned myself, how do I become a better athlete? These guys have pushed me to become a better athlete. 

    "I question myself, really, what can I add to my life that can eventually help me achieve more and do more, and do better in terms of my career. So, every day is a question: What can I add?

    "Looking back on the diet that I had, let's say, three or four years ago, it's nothing compared to what I have now. In terms of fitness, this is something that I have questioned a lot, as well.

    "And, of course, the balance between life and career. It hasn't been easy, but I kind of feel in better control of my life right now, being focused and having control around me without relying too much on other people's feelings."

    Tsitsipas was only on court for an hour and 32 minutes in his third round win, and was pleased with making quicker progress than had been the case in his previous outings at the tournament.

    "I had to do my job. I had to play my tennis. I wasn't really thinking of the ease that I could maybe create in terms of a result," he added.

    "But with my good efforts, the way I committed myself to every single point individually, the end was good. I was able to create a good result today with some good tennis

    "It's a good thing to have a match like this every now and then, I think. It was a good performance in ways."

  • French Open: Sabalenka exit leaves Swiatek as only top-10 female seed standing French Open: Sabalenka exit leaves Swiatek as only top-10 female seed standing

    Iga Swiatek is the last top-10 seed remaining in the women's draw at the French Open after Camila Giorgi knocked out Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday.

    Giorgi moved into the fourth round with a 4-6 6-1 6-0 defeat of the seventh seed on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

    Italian Giorgi broke the two-time grand slam semi-finalist from Belarus' serve six times as she booked a meeting with Daria Kasatkina, progressing beyond the third round for the first time at Roland Garros.

    Veronika Kudermetova earlier reached the last 16 of a major for the first time when Paula Badosa retired from their third-round match due to a right calf injury at 6-3 2-1 down.

    With third seed Padosa and Sabalenka making an exit, world number one Swiatek is an even stronger favourite to win the title for the second time.

    The top seed saw off Danka Kovinic 6-3 7-5 in the opening match of the day on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

    It is only the second time this century that only one of the top-10 seeds has reached the fourth round, with the other occasion being when Karolina Pliskova was the last such player left standing at Wimbledon four years ago.

    Czech Pliskova failed to capitalise at the All England Club, as she was knocked out in the fourth round.

  • French Open: Medvedev vows to look after number one if he hits top spot again French Open: Medvedev vows to look after number one if he hits top spot again

    Daniil Medvedev is on a mission to avoid being remembered as a two-week wonder at world number one as he attempts to claw top spot back from Novak Djokovic.

    The US Open champion climbed to the summit of the ATP rankings in late February of this year and had a fortnight there before surrendering the top rung to Djokovic, the long-time incumbent.

    Djokovic remains there and has spent a record 371 weeks at number one across his career, while Roger Federer had 310 weeks on top and Rafael Nadal 209 weeks.

    Their dominance has been at the extreme end of the sporting spectrum, and Medvedev will probably never get close to matching any of their totals, but there is a strong chance he will jump back to number one sooner rather than later.

    Medvedev revealed on Saturday he had searched on the internet to learn which players had short runs at number one comparable to his own, such is his fascination.

    He is closely tracking Djokovic in the current world rankings, and should he reach the French Open final next weekend he will overtake the 35-year-old Serbian – even if Djokovic successfully defends his Roland Garros title.

    Then the decision by the ATP to strip Wimbledon of ranking points means Djokovic will lose 2,000 points after that tournament, having been champion last year, while Medvedev has only a handful to hand back. He is banned from Wimbledon, as all Russians are, and is unhappy to be missing out, but he stands to benefit on the rankings list.

    "I for sure want to be there more than two weeks. I want to try to do it," Medvedev said. "We don't know how, this Wimbledon thing, but I want to try to make the best results possible."

    Medvedev recalled being told by Tennis Channel how he could return to number one in Paris, saying that was "great to know".

    "That's great motivation," Medvedev said. "It's not something that pressures me, because I'm really happy I managed to do it.

    "I remember at Indian Wells I lost, I didn't like my match against Gael [Monfils], and that's when I knew I was going to lose the number one spot.

    "I was like, well, just two weeks. I went on the internet and looked just like this on Google, who were the shortest number one players in the world, and the first I saw was Pat Rafter being there for one week, and he's an absolute legend, and Carlos Moya was somewhere there. Two weeks.

    "If somebody would ask me, how long were Rafter and Moya number one, I'd say, I don't know, six months, one year."

    After a 6-2 6-4 6-2 win over Djokovic's compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, which set up a last-16 clash with Maric Cilic, the 26-year-old Medvedev spoke of his pride at having briefly lorded it over his tour rivals.

    "It's something nobody can take away from me," he said. "Not that many players could take it while they play tennis. It's a great motivation to try to come back there."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.