Sat, Jan 11, 2020 - Page 16 News List

Hsieh, Strycova reach Brisbane semis

DREAM COME TRUE:In Auckland, Amanda Anisimova outlasted Eugenie Bouchard to advance and make real her ‘biggest wish’ to play against Serena Williams

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, BRISBANE, Australia

The Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova returns to the US’ Jennifer Brady in their Brisbane International women’s singles quarter-final in Australia yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova yesterday overcame a rocky start to advance to the semi-finals of the doubles at the Brisbane International with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Lucie Hradecka and Andreja Klepac in 1 hour, 20 minutes at the Queensland Tennis Centre.

The top seeds, ranked No. 4 and No. 1 in the world, saved four of seven break points and converted five of 13, winning 50 percent of their first-return points against the unseeded Czech-Slovenian duo in their first meeting on the tour after the Taiwanese-Czech pairing had to withdraw due to injury when they were scheduled to face off in the quarter-finals in Cincinnati, Ohio, last year.

In today’s semi-final, the top seeds face unseeded Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Yang Zhaoxuan of China, who battled past Darija Jurak of Croatia and Alicja Rosolska of Poland 6-2, 4-6, 11-9 in their quarter-final on Thursday.

The winners face Ashleigh Barty, the Australian world No. 1 in the singles, and Kiki Bertens in the final after the Dutch player revealed news of their semi-final opponents — Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia and Kristina Mladenovic of France — withdrawing following her second-round singles win over Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit on Thursday night.

“We had a walkover, so I think we’re already in the final,” Bertens told the PerthNow Web site, before tipping her partner to bounce back from her shock singles exit to Jennifer Brady earlier on Thursday.

“It’s pretty tough. She’s [Barty’s] in a little bit of a different position of course this year, but I think in doubles she played great, so I think she’s going to be fine for the next few weeks,” Bertens said.

In the singles, Naomi Osaka battled for two hours while Petra Kvitova cruised to victory as both booked spots in the semi-finals.

Osaka’s form slipped after the first set, but the world No. 4 eventually saw off sixth seed Kiki Bertens 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Pat Rafter Arena.

Bertens was on the attack in the second set, but lost control in the decider when she began to struggle with her first serve.

It was a more straightforward affair for fifth seed Kvitova, who downed American qualifier Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-2.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion who won her first WTA title in Brisbane in 2011, was in superb touch against Brady, who beat Maria Sharapova and Ashleigh Barty in the first two rounds, but was never in the hunt.

“I didn’t serve well at all the first game, but since then I served much, much better and that’s helped me a lot through this match today for sure,” Kvitova said. “My body’s still not falling apart yet, so that’s good as well.”

Osaka, who burst to stardom by winning consecutive Grand Slam crowns at the 2018 US Open and last year’s Australian Open, is next to play defending champion Karolina Pliskova.

Pliskova reached the semi-finals with a tough 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 victory over unseeded American Alison Riske.

The world No. 2 never had it easy against Riske, who let herself down with 11 double faults.

Kvitova is to face Madison Keys, who cruised past fellow American Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-1 to secure her berth in the final four.

ASB CLASSIC

AFP, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Serena Williams, chasing her first title in three years, yesterday wore down a tenacious Laura Siegemund to set up a semi-final showdown with Amanda Anisimova at the ASB Classic.

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