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.
Doha is looking at building a new 12,000-seat stadium, which would include a roof, Zainal said, adding that it could be ready by 2021.
OPPORTUNITY: After winning a Symetra Tour title last month, Lee was in position to become the first to follow a Symetra victory with an LPGA Tour win in her next start Taiwan’s Min Lee on Saturday capped a stellar outing by rolling in a 15-foot putt for a birdie on 18 to grab a two-shot lead heading into the final round of the LPGA Mediheal Championship. Lee birdied three of her final four holes, including the par-five 18th, for a four-under-par 68 and a total of nine-under 207. “I just tried to play my game and tried to be smart on the golf course, because the golf course is very hard,” Lee said. “There are some pin placement that you want to be on the fat side of the green if you miss
Shohei Ohtani on Tuesday hit the longest homer of his major league career in the first inning, and the surging Los Angeles Angels pounded a season-high five homers in an 8-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Ohtani’s 17th homer of the season was a 470-foot (143.25m) shot deep into the outfield bleachers off Kansas City starter Kris Bubic (1-1). Angels manager Joe Maddon, who first arrived at Angel Stadium in 1994 as a coach, had never seen anything like it. “That’s the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit here,” Maddon said. “I’ve never seen one hit there before... It has an impact
ADVANTAGE: The world No. 4, who has physiotherapist Victoria Kao as his mentor, cheerleader and critic, said he was lucky Taiwan kept COVID-19 at bay for so long It is an unorthodox approach, but Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen is hoping his decision to go without a coach will help him win badminton gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The world No. 4 has flourished since parting ways with a full-time coach in 2019, with his physiotherapist Victoria Kao filling the role of mentor, cheerleader and critic. With Kao in his corner, Chou won his first Super 1000 title at the 2019 Indonesia Open, and lifted the Taipei Open trophy for a record third time. Now Chou, who reached the last eight at Rio 2016, has set his sights on winning Taiwan’s first
There is a new interpretation of the handball law in soccer and the first game at the UEFA Euro 2020 on Friday set the tone that there should be fewer cheap penalties given. Twice during the first half in Rome, Italy’s players pleaded with UEFA’s hand-picked referee for the prestige game, Danny Makkelie, to award a penalty when the ball struck a Turkey defender on the arm. Fans in domestic leagues have become used to seeing such handballs rewarded with penalties in the era of review by video assistant referees (VARs), but Makkelie waved away both appeals and Italy’s win meant his