In-form world No. 7 Anett Kontaveit yesterday cruised into the Sydney Classic semi-finals after top-10 opponent Ons Jabeur retired hurt, days before the Australian Open.
The Estonian won a tight first set 6-4 before the Tunisian called for a medical timeout.
After lengthy treatment on her lower back, Jabeur forfeited the match.
It is a big setback for Jabeur, with the opening Grand Slam of the year to start on Monday.
She had a breakthrough year last year, winning her maiden WTA singles title and surging into the top 10 for the first time.
Kontaveit faces world No. 4 and French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals, with the Czech crushing France’s Caroline Garcia 6-0, 6-2.
“It’s never the way you want to win, and I really hope Ons is going to be fine for next week and that it’s nothing too serious,” the Estonian said. “The first set was really competitive, and we’ve had some tough matches before and she’s always come out on top, so it was good to get the set and that I was playing the way I was playing.”
The understated Kontaveit is shaping up as a serious contender at Melbourne Park after her electric form in the second half of last season, capturing four titles in two months before ending runner-up at the WTA Finals to Garbine Muguruza.
Krejcikova also raced through the rankings last year, winning at Roland Garros, Strasbourg and Prague.
“I’m really looking forward to the challenge to play another top-10 player,” she said of Kontaveit. “I’m glad to be putting myself in these situations and getting good matches and getting quality time on court.”
Spanish world No. 3 Muguruza was ousted in an upset 6-4, 6-4 win by Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.
The lineup for the semis was completed with fifth seed Paula Badosa defeating Belinda Bencic 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 6-3.
In the men’s singles, Russia’s Aslan Karatsev defeated Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to make the last four, while British veteran Andy Murray advanced after David Goffin retired after losing the opening set 6-2.
Murray faces Reilly Opelka for a place in the final after he beat fellow American Brandon Nakashina 7-6 (7/4), 6-2.
Briton Dan Evans beat Maxime Cressy of the US 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) for the final berth in the semis.
Additional reporting by staff writer.
AFP, ADELAIDE, Australia
Teenager Coco Gauff yesterday moved a step closer to a third title on the WTA Tour when she swept past Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-4 and into the Adelaide semi-finals.
The 17-year-old American is the highest seed remaining at three as she ramps up preparations for next week’s Australian Open.
She was simply too good for the Croat, who is on the comeback after multiple elbow surgeries, converting four of 11 break points and dominating on her serve.
“I’m super-excited for this year. I really do feel like I had a good pre-season and I feel really confident on the court,” Gauff said.
“Even though the pre-season was two months, I feel like I improved so much during those couple months of training,” she added.
Gauff faces the US’ Madison Keys, who beat Russian Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Alison Riske booked a spot in the last four when fellow American Madison Brengle retired hurt at 3-3 in the first set.
Riske faces world No. 31 Tamara Zidansek for a place in tomorrow’s final after the Slovenian came through an epic battle against Lauren Davis 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (9/7).
In the men’s draw, Marin Cilic, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Corentin Moutet and Arthur Rinderknech reached the semi-finals.
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