Dominika Cibulkova is a semi-final win away from overtaking Johanna Konta into the lucrative eighth place in the Race to Singapore. In her quarter-final match on Friday against the defending champion, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Cibulkova wobbled serving out both sets but her level was generally high, prevailing 7-6(3) 6-4. Cibulkova was 5-1 up in the first set but Pavlyuchenkova went away fast in the first set tiebreak.
Cibulkova will play Carla Suárez Navarro in a high-stakes semi-final. The Spaniard still has an outside chance for Singapore. Suárez Navarro overcame a mid-match wobble to eventually put away Denisa Allertova in the first quarter-final of the day, 6-4 4-6 6-2.
The second semi-final will be contested between Madison Keys and Viktorija Golubic – we were just two games away from all top four seeds reaching the semi-finals which is a pretty rare feat for an International. However, Golubic came through via a retirement win over Garbiñe Muguruza with the score locked at 4-4 in the decider after the Spaniard went over on her ankle. It looked and sounded nasty (by Garbi’s scream) but she was able to make it to her chair with assistance and did carry on for a few games before ending it following a chat with coach, Sam Sumyk.
It was announced this evening that Muguruza is the sixth player to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore… a bittersweet feeling! She will be a doubt now for Singapore with just over a week to prepare. I hate it to see players suffer injuries likes this 😦
Credit to Golubic who played a really good match… stylistically, her backhand is a beaut. I really like how she mixes up between the one-hander and the slice. In the second match of the day on Friday, Keys beat another big hitter, Oceane Dodin, 6-3 6-3. Golubic and Keys will be playing for the first time and will follow Cibulkova v Suárez Navarro which starts at 2pm local time.
In Hong Kong, there was a big upset in the first match of the day as Daria Gavrilova beat Angelique Kerber and in style, 6-3 6-1. Full credit to Gavrilova who is having a neat couple of weeks in Asia having reached the quarter-finals in Beijing. To be honest, i’m not surprised by this result after Kerber went three with Louisa Chirico and with her injury concerns before the tournament. I admire Kerber’s loyalty to the tournament to honour her commitment but I can’t really see the logic behind playing in Hong Kong.
Gavrilova will play Kristina Mladenovic in the semi-finals after the Frenchwoman survived a nailbiter against Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 3-6 6-3 7-6(3). Mladenovic twice served to stay in the match at *4-5 and *5-6 in the decider… all in all, a good win. Gavrilova and Mladenovic will meet for the first time since their epic match at the Australian Open where Gavrilova won, 11-9 in the third set.
The second of the semi-finals will be a blast from the past between former world number ones, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic. Wozniacki is yet to drop a set this week, while Jelena Jankovic fought back from a set down to edge Alizé Cornet in the quarter-finals, 3-6 6-4 6-2. Caro and JJ haven’t played each other in two and a half years with the head-to-head currently tied at 5-5.
In Tianjin, the match of the day delivered with a third set tiebreak deciding Svetlana Kuznetsova and Naomi Osaka. Kuznetsova saved two match points to win, 2-6 6-4 7-6(3). I’m impressed that Sveta won in the end as Osaka had significant openings up 5-4 and 6-5 including match points in the latter.
Kunzetsova plays Alison Riske in the semi-finals – this has historically been a good match-up for Kuznetsova with a 4-0 head-to-head lead although Riske did win a set in their most recent encounter in Cincy. The other semi-final will be contested between Peng Shuai and Danka Kovinic. It’s an unexpected second semi-final as the pair had combined for just five WTA main draw wins since the French Open before Tianjin.
Loved this from Serena.
Seriously though, some of these nominees for WTA Player of the year… there’s only one winner!
And finally, as a keen baker I loveedd this!