Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie of China advanced to the doubles semi-finals at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, on Friday without hitting a ball as two of the three scheduled quarter-finals ended in walkovers.
The cross-strait duo were handed a walkover win after wild-cards Simona Halep and Heather Watson withdrew from their quarter-final after Romanian Halep lost a marathon singles quarter-final 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4) to Kristina Mladenovic of France in 1 hour, 51 minutes earlier in the day.
Chan and Zheng were due to face fourth-seeded Spanish duo Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro in the semi-finals late yesterday.
Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic also advanced with a walkover when Mladenovic, partnering Timea Babos, also decided to withdraw from the doubles.
They were due to face Czech pairing Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who won the only doubles quarter-final to be played on Friday 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 against third-seeded US duo Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
In the singles, top-seeded Simona Halep lost 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7/4) on Friday in a back-and-forth match against Krisytina Mladenovic of France in the quarter-finals.
Mladenovic was outplayed in the first set, but then won the second in only 20 minutes as Halep imploded with five double-faults. She failed to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third, but clinched the tiebreaker when Halep netted a backhand.
It was Mladenovic’s third upset of the week at the grass-court tournament, having previously ousted No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard, last year’s Wimbledon runner-up, and No. 10 Barbora Strycova.
She next faces sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who beat third-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-2.
The other semi-final was to be an all-German match between Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber.
Lisicki beat Daniela Hantuchova 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, while Kerber ousted Katerina Siniakova 6-2, 6-4.
Croatian Ivo Karlovic hit a record 45 aces on his way to beating third seed Tomas Berdych at the Halle Open on Friday to set up a semi-final against seven-times champion Roger Federer.
Big-serving Karlovic, who stands 2.11m tall, improved the record for a three-set ATP tour match by one ace, winning 7-5, 6-7 (8/10), 6-3 against the Czech on the quick grass court in the Wimbledon warm-up event.
“Berdych returns quite well really,” the Croatian world No. 27, told reporters. “That’s why lots of aces are so important.”
Predictably, the 36-year-old Karlovic clinched victory with an ace.
“I didn’t really know how many aces I’d done, but when I heard it was 45 I knew that’s a new record,” he said. “Hitting aces helps a lot, you can avoid the volleys. I was surprised when I was told on court after the match how many aces I hit. Hopefully I can continue like that in the semi-final.”
Top seed Federer stayed on track for a title defense with a trouble-free 6-0, 7-6 (7/1) victory over German Florian Mayer with the Swiss needing just 19 minutes to race through the first set.
World No. 5 Kei Nishikori was made to work much harder, needing three sets to tame Jerzy Janowicz.
The Pole eventually ran out of steam in the third set after matching Nishikori’s precision with his power over two sets, with the Japanese earning a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory.
Second seed Nishikori next faces Andreas Seppi, who advanced when Gael Monfils retired injured.
Seppi was leading 6-1 1-0 when the Frenchman, who had crashed into a side wall early in the first set, called it quits.
Japanese couple Rikiya and Ayumi Kataoka had their honeymoon wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but their resourcefulness in enforced exile in Cape Verde has won them appointments as ambassadors for its Olympic team. The Kataokas had completed a third of their round-the-world trip when a suspension in long-haul flights stranded them for five months in the archipelago of 10 tiny islands off the coast of West Africa. Unable to resume their journey to Europe and then home to Japan, and unwilling to head to the African mainland, where virus cases are spiking, they had to trade their skills with domestic businesses to
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being