Daria Saville books Hobart semi-final after stunning third seed Zhu Lin

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Daria Saville is on the cusp of reaching her sixth WTA final, having defeated third-seeded Zhu Lin in the quarter-finals of the Hobart International. Despite a difficult start, the Australian wildcard triumphed with a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday and will now face top seed Elise Mertens in the semi-finals.

Saville, a former professional tennis player who was once ranked in the top 20, is currently ranked 195 in the world. Despite her injury in September 2022 where she tore her left anterior cruciate ligament and was unable to play for nine months, she has been showcasing some of her best performance on the court as she makes her comeback.

Saville proved her straight-sets win over the 2020 Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin, in the round of 16 was not a fluke and has justified being granted the final discretionary wildcard for the Australian Open. “It feels so good,” she said.

Being in the semi-finals of a home tournament is a huge achievement. I am ecstatic about it. While my opponent was the stronger player in the first set, I was able to find my rhythm and not give up. I chose to be more aggressive and it ultimately worked in my favor.

After a lackluster performance in the opening set, Saville improved in the second set by using impressive defensive strategies to break Zhu’s serve. She secured another break when Zhu made two double faults. In the decisive third set, Saville took the lead in the ninth game by forcing Zhu to make an error with her backhand. She then went on to win the match as her opponent hit a forehand shot wide.

Saville and Mertens were consecutive winners at the Hobart tournament in 2017 and 2018. They have faced each other six times, with the Belgian winning four of those matches. Mertens has not lost a single set at the Domain Tennis Centre this week and easily defeated Arantxa Rus with a score of 7-5, 6-0. Mertens had some difficulty with the wind in the first set, but dominated in the second set, only giving up seven points.

“I was pleased with my performance, particularly in the second set, compared to my previous match against Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova,” stated Mertens. “She had a strong serve, so I had to make some adjustments in the first set.”

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Emma Navarro, the second seed from the United States, emerged victorious in a match against Viktoriya Tomova, who entered as a lucky loser. Navarro won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Source: theguardian.com

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