Swiatek races into Dubai semi-finals while double faults cost Gauff

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Iga Swiatek, the top seed, easily defeated Zheng Qinwen with a score of 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

In just 86 minutes, Swiatek successfully saved all three break points and broke Zheng three times, ultimately defeating the Australian Open finalist. This marks her sixth consecutive win against Zheng.

“She has great power, great topspin. You have to be ready for that,” Swiatek said of Zheng. “She wants to really be proactive, so you have to keep up with the intensity. I’ve been doing that during our matches.”

Swiatek recorded 17 successful shots and 10 mistakes. Zheng, on the other hand, had 19 successful shots and 18 errors, but she only landed 48% of her first serves.

Swiatek will face Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, who overcame a rough first set to earn a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over the third seed Coco Gauff. Kalinskaya benefited from eight double faults from Gauff to win her match in 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Following the match, Kalinskaya swiftly shifted her focus to Swiatek. “I previously faced [Swiatek] in a doubles match a while back,” Kalinskaya stated. “I’m extremely eager for [Friday]. I’ll work on recovering. This will be my first time playing against her in singles.”

On Thursday, Romanian player Sorana Cirstea lost the first set and was behind 5-1 in the second set before making a comeback to defeat Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova from the Czech Republic with a score of 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

“This has to be the biggest comeback of my career,” Cirstea said after winning the match in 2 hours, 41 minutes. “To be honest, at a set and 5-1 [down], I wasn’t really thinking about winning any more. I was like, make it nicer for the public, try to make it a little bit longer, try to give them a little bit of nicer tennis. I still don’t know how I managed it.”

Cirstea successfully hit multiple aces to prevent losing the match at a score of 5-1 in the second set. She also managed to save another point with a volley when the score was 5-2. Despite being seeded seventh, Vondrousova missed out on six opportunities to win, resulting in her defeat.

Cirstea will carry on her pursuit of a championship as she takes on Italian player Jasmine Paolini, who received a pass to the next round after fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan withdrew due to a stomach illness.

Cameron Norrie is on track to defend his championship at the Rio Open as he comfortably advanced to the quarter-finals. The top-ranked British player claimed victory at last year’s event in Brazil, and his chances of repeating his success improved when the first seed, Carlos Alcaraz, pulled out due to an injury earlier in the week. Norrie dominated against Chilean opponent Tomas Barrios Vera on the clay court, only dropping two games in a decisive 6-1, 6-1 win.

Cameron Norrie hits a forehand in Rio on route to the quarter-finalsView image in fullscreen

Barrios Vera, currently ranked at 120th in the world, was unable to compete against Norrie. Despite initially trading breaks, Norrie went on to win four consecutive games and take the first set. A second stretch of four games in a row secured the victory with ease, setting up a quarter-final match against Thiago Seyboth Wild.

“I performed strongly and was precise, consistently hitting my shots and maintaining control of the matches,” Norrie stated during an interview with Sky Sports. “Despite the delay caused by last night’s rain, I was able to stay focused and reset, ultimately leading to a satisfying result.”

I will continue to prioritize my own performance and make sure I manage my matches in the same manner. The weather conditions have been challenging with high humidity and frequent rain, resulting in heavy clay. Despite the difficulties, I am confident in my ability to perform well in longer matches.

In the latest match, Australian player Thanasi Kokkinakis easily defeated Dan Evans 6-4, 6-2 and secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the ATP Los Cabos tournament in Mexico. The game lasted just over two hours and marks Kokkinakis’ second consecutive victory against a British opponent. He had previously beaten world No 53, Jack Draper, earlier in the week.

Kokkinakis achieved his first quarter-final appearance at the tour level since the start of 2023, clinching a victory with five aces compared to Evans’ three. Evans had three double faults during the match, while Kokkinakis excelled in crucial moments, saving four out of five break points against him. This loss is also Evans’ third defeat to the Australian player.

In the upcoming match, Kokkinakis will face off against Alexander Zverev, ranked 6th in the world, and the top seed at Los Cabos.

Source: theguardian.com

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