Sun, Jun 21, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Chan advances after walkover

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP, BIRMINGHAM, England

Roger Federer celebrates after his Halle Open quarter-final win against Florian Mayer in Germany on Friday.

Photo: AFP

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.

HALLE OPEN

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.

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