Former champion Samantha Stosur moved into the Japan Open semi-finals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win against Misaki Doi yesterday.
Third-seeded Stosur, who won the title in 2009, raced away to a 5-0 lead in the opening set, but it was far from simple after that as Doi battled back to stir the home crowd and take the second.
The pair exchanged breaks of service in the third set before Stosur, the highest remaining seed, held out to win.
Awaiting Stosur in the last four today is US teenager Madison Keys, who reached her first WTA semi-final with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Zheng Jie of China.
In the other semi, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard will face Japan’s Kurumi Nara. Bouchard beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in their last-eight match while Nara defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-1.
AP, LINZ, Austria
Top-seeded Angelique Kerber and No. 2 seed Sloane Stephens reached the quarter-finals of the Generali Ladies in contrasting styles on Thursday.
Kerber downed Alexandra Cadantu of Romania 6-1, 6-0 in just 50 minutes, while Stephens needed two-and-a-half hours to defeat Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-3.
Kerber was broken while serving for the first set, but was otherwise hardly challenged by the 72nd-ranked Cadantu.
“I felt really well on court,” the 10th-ranked German said. “I was very relaxed and played well from the start.”
Kerber is one win short of securing the eighth and final spot at the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul. She takes on Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in the quarter-finals. The Austrian missed two match points at 5-3 in the second set before defeating Maryna Zanevska of Ukraine 6-1, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4.
The 12th-ranked Stephens won just two of the first 14 points and later dropped 5-2 behind against Petkovic, but the American saved three set points before taking the opener in a tiebreaker.
“I let out some screams which I normally don’t do,” Stephens said about her slow start. “I am just happy to get through.”
Stephens went 3-1 up in the second set before Petkovic reeled off 10 straight points to turn it around.
Stephens managed an early break in the decider and the Australian Open semi-finalist closed out the victory on her third match point.
Stephens next plays Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, who rallied to defeat Karin Knapp of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Earlier, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia routed Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-0, 6-1.