Sat, Feb 18, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Chan, Hingis advance to Qatar semi-finals

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, DOHA

It was a tale of the top seeds at the rain-hit Qatar Ladies Open on Thursday, as Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis advanced to the semi-finals in the doubles, while Angelique Kerber crashed out to a Russian teenager in the second round of the singles in Doha.

Chan and Hingis faced a tougher test than their first-round match in their quarter-final against Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, but they came through with flying colors, posting a 6-3, 6-3 victory in 67 minutes.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved six of eight break points and converted five of 13, winning 59 of the 105 points contested to advance to a semi-final against either third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, who were scheduled to play their rain-delayed quarter-final yesterday.

That should give the top seeds an advantage in the semi-finals, with their opponents having to play two matches yesterday in their bid to make today’s final.

In the singles, world No. 2 Kerber finally got to play her first match at the rain-affected tournament, then promptly crashed out.

On another wet day in the desert, Kerber lost 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 to Daria Kasatkina.

The German had received a first-round bye.

“Of course, it’s always tough to play the first matches after a longer break, but I was not feeling the best today. I’m trying to find my rhythm, but she plays good,” the former world No. 1 said. “I think it was, for sure, not my day. I was not feeling the best today.”

She told German-speaking reporters that she had been suffering from a cold, but did not want to make “a drama out of this.”

It was the second time this year that Kerber has lost to the 19-year-old Russian, after a straight-sets defeat at the Apia Sydney International last month.

The defeat capped a miserable start to the year for the German, who lost in the fourth round in Melbourne as she sought to defend her Australian Open title.

To make things worse, eventual winner Serena Williams then reclaimed Kerber’s world No. 1 ranking.

The defeat also denied Doha a repeat of last year’s Olympics final, as Kasatkina instead won through to play gold medalist Monica Puig in the quarter-finals. That match also began on Thursday.

It was tied at 1-1 — the Russian took the first set 6-4, while Puig hit back to take the second 7-5 — with the Puerto Rican 2-1 up in the decider before the inevitable rain struck again and play was halted for the day.

Also suspended because of the weather was Caroline Wozniacki’s quarter-final against qualifier Lauren Davis of the US. The pair managed only one game before being stopped for the day.

Earlier, the Dane had beaten close friend Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-3.

“We always have great matches,” Wozniacki said. “It was a tough match, but I was pleased.”

Only one player, Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, has so far won through to the semi-finals.

She beat Australia’s Samantha Stosur 7-5, 6-4 and was due to play the winner of the match between the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and China’s Zhang Shuai.

Second seed Pliskova had earlier beaten France’s Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-4.

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