Coco Vandeweghe on Friday knocked world No. 1 Simona Halep out of the Stuttgart Grand Prix with a commanding 6-4, 6-1 win in 74 minutes, even though she was not even aware of the score for large parts of the match.
No. 16 Vandeweghe says this is her least-favorite surface, but she has still reached the first clay semi-final of her WTA career.
She yesterday was to face French sixth seed Carolina Garcia, who constructed a third straight fightback over third seed Elina Svitolina 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2.
“At one point in the first set, I wasn’t even sure of the score,” Vandeweghe said. “Maybe that’s the secret.”
She held her nerve to break early in the second set, added an insurance break for a 5-1 lead and closed out the upset on her second match point a game later, when Halep went long with a return.
“Clay is still not my favorite surface, it’s certainly not my No. 1,” she added.
However, with a Porsche 718 Boxster going to the winner along with prize money, Vandeweghe says she has plenty of motivation to win a first title on the alien surface.
“I’m one step closer — maybe if I keep it up I can win a new toy to take home to California,” she said.
“It was like a flash and I don’t really know what happened during the match,” Halep said. “She served really well and it was really tough to break her.”
Garcia has made a habit of rallying to beat Svitolina, duplicating comebacks she completed last autumn in Beijing and at the season-ending WTA finals in Singapore.
The 2 hour, 15 minute struggle featured nine aces from Svitolina and 10 from Garcia, who earned her first win of the season over a top 10 player.
Yesterday’s second semi-final was to be contested between Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit and fifth seed Karolina Pliskova.
Kontaveit needed almost three hours to beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, while Pliskova came from break points down in the final game to beat Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko, 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.
AFP, ISTANBUL, Turkey
World No. 2 and top seed Caroline Wozniacki was on Friday forced to retire from her Istanbul Cup quarter-final against Pauline Parmentier of France after suffering an abdominal injury.
Australian Open champion Wozniacki had already received an on-court medical timeout before Parmentier leveled the match at a set apiece.
The Dane opted not to continue with the match poised at 4-6, 6-3.
“I saw she had some problems in the second set with the serve. She was not serving full speed. It’s tough when you see your opponent not doing well,” Parmentier told wtatennis.com. “Even though we are opponents on the court, we want everyone to be fine, so it’s not easy.”
Unseeded Parmentier will face seventh seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, who saw off Donna Vekic of Croatia 3-6, 7-6 (7/1), 6-1.
In yesterday’s other semi-final, Polona Hercog of Slovenia was to face Greece’s Maria Sakkari.
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