Sun, Feb 19, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Chan, Hingis fall in semis in rain-battered Qatar

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, DOHA

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis were ousted in the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Ladies Open on Friday, as Olga Savchuk and Yaroslava Shvedova rallied from a set down to win their second match of the day and advance to the final in Doha.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, playing their first tournament together, won the first set before the unseeded Ukrainian-Kazakh pairing rallied to complete a 3-6, 6-2, 10-6 victory in 67 minutes in the rain-hit Qatari capital.

Savchuk and Shvedova, who had earlier ousted third seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Peng Shuai of China 6-3, 1-6, 10-7, saved three of six break points and converted four of nine, winning 59 of the 110 points contested to advance to the final.

In the final they were due to face fourth seeds Abigail Spears of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who ousted second seeds Sania Mirza of India and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 10-8 in Friday’s other semi-final.

In the singles, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki are to meet each other in the final after both won two matches on a long, soggy and grueling day.

On another day punctuated by heavy showers and thunderstorms, meaning long delays for the players, Czech Pliskova beat Zhang Shuai of China 6-2, 6-0, then Dominika Cibulkova in an exciting semi-final 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Her playing day began at 12:30pm and ended just before 11pm.

Similarly, Dane Wozniacki first beat American qualifier Lauren Davies 7-5, 6-1, then Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig 6-1, 6-2, finishing past midnight.

Puig was also playing her second match of the day, having earlier completed her victory against Daria Kasatkina of Russia, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

“It’s been really tough conditions with all the waiting and everything,” Wozniacki said.

Pliskova, speaking before she knew who her final opponent would be, said: “Every final is tough.”

The pair have met three times before, with Wozniacki winning on every occasion. However they have not met since 2014.

Pliskova, 24, is ranked No. 3 in the world, while Wozniacki, who is two years older, is No. 18.

Incredibly, it also means the rain-ravaged tournament might even finish on time, despite the schedule being battered because of the terrible weather conditions throughout the week.

Friday was one of the worst days yet, with numerous delays because of thunderstorms. It took about 12 hours to complete just five singles matches.

If the final does go ahead, it will come as a great relief to organizers.

Indeed, just hours before Pliskova and Wozniacki won through to yesterday’s shoot-out, organizers were talking about the tournament finishing without a winner because of the huge number of rain delays during the week as Qatar experiences some of its wettest weather in years.

Qatar Tennis Federation secretary-general Tariq Darwish Zainal said play would not continue after today, even if the final matches could not be played.

Rain has delayed play on every single day, virtually wiping out all matches on two separate days.

“The WTA gives us one [extra] day. If we don’t finish all the matches, the tournament finishes without a winner,” Zainal said.

The forecast for yesterday was indifferent, with Wozniacki saying that she was “just hoping for good weather” for the final.

The tournament was scheduled to finish yesterday, but has the option of extending until today.

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