Sat, Feb 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Chan sisters reach Qatar semis

‘GOOD FOR TENNIS’:Elina Svitolina easily outdid Karolina Muchova, but came away impressed with her style of play, which she said features variety rather than power

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters

Taiwanese sisters Latisha Chan, left, and Chan Hao-ching celebrate winning their Qatar Open doubles quarter-final in Doha on Thursday. “I’m sure you can tell who was working harder during the match by [the] sweating competition,” Latisha Chan wrote on Facebook.

Photo: screen grab from Facebook

Taiwanese sisters Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan on Thursday advanced to the semi-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Open, while top seed Simona Halep successfully continued her bid for the title in the singles.

The Chan sisters took just 61 minutes to complete a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Kaitlyn Christian of the US in their quarter-final at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

The Taiwanese duo saved three of four break points and converted four of six, winning 58 of the 98 points contested, helped by winning 62 percent of their points on second service.

The sisters were next due to face Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the semi-finals after they defeated Raquel Atawo of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

In the singles, Halep battled past Germany’s Julia Goerges 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (8/6) to set up a semi-final against Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

Playing in her first tournament with new coach Thierry van Cleemput, Halep raced to a 4-0 lead in the opening set before her ninth-seeded opponent fought back to force a tiebreak.

Goerges threatened with an early break in the second set, but Halep’s relentless accuracy from the baseline proved the difference as the Romanian closed out the win in just more than two hours.

Fourth seed Svitolina swept aside Czech qualifier Karolina Muchova 6-4, 6-2 to move into her first semi-final of the season.

Svitolina broke her opponent twice in each set, winning 78 percent of points on her first serve in a commanding display.

Muchova, who has enjoyed a breakthrough week to reach her first WTA Tour quarter-final, was undone by her 25 unforced errors, allowing Svitolina to clinch an 82-minute victory.

Muchova is “not a typical young player, because most of the players now that are coming up, they are smashing the ball,” Svitolina said. “She has lots of variety in her game and that’s, I think, very good for tennis.”

Three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber rallied from a set down to overcome Czech Barbora Strycova 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), reaching her first semi-final since her Wimbledon triumph in July last year.

Kerber’s Australian Open campaign last month ended in one of the worst defeats of her career when she won only two games against Danielle Collins, but she has put her disappointment behind her by stepping up her game in Doha.

Both players converted five break points in a riveting contest, but it was Kerber who kept her composure in the decisive tiebreak to improve her head-to-head record to 8-1 against Strycova.

“We played so many times against each other,” Kerber said. “You never know what to expect, if she is playing serve and volley or just moving, playing fast. It was a really close match and I think just one, two points decide the match.”

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