WTA

Kvitova reaches another Doha semi-final as Pegula ousts Pliskova

By Sports Desk March 04, 2021

Petra Kvitova moved a step closer to a second successive appearance in the Qatar Open final after overcoming Anett Kontaveit on Thursday. 

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova lost to Aryna Sabalenka in the 2020 final but has looked on top form throughout the week in Doha. 

Kontaveit proved a tough opponent for the fourth seed, however, and Kvitova – the 2018 champion – needed three sets to progress 6-3 3-6 6-2. 

"I'm really glad that after losing the second set, which I probably didn't play the best, I started very well in the third," said Kvitova. 

"I learned that the return was pretty good from my side. I was going for it – first point, first shot – and I think that made a big difference. In the rally, it was 50-50 and anybody could win it, but when I put the pressure from my return, it was really very nice."

Her reward is a semi-final tie with qualifier Jessica Pegula, who caused an upset by defeating second seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-1. 

Pegula reached the Australian Open quarter-finals last month and played with supreme confidence to oust the 2017 champion and reach her maiden semi-final at a WTA 500 event. 

The other half of the draw will see Victoria Azarenka taking on Garbine Muguruza. 

Azarenka triumphed 6-2 6-4 over top seed Elina Svitolina, with the two-time Doha champion maintaining her unbeaten record against the Ukrainian to reach the 60th WTA semi-final of her career. 

Muguruza, meanwhile, battled past Maria Sakkari 6-3 6-1 to complete the last four. 

At the Lyon Open, French duo Kristina Mladenovic and Clara Burel booked their places in the last eight, beating Margarita Gasparyan and Aliaksandra Sasnovich respectively. 

Spaniard Paula Badosa awaits Mladenovic, while teenage wildcard Burel takes on compatriot and second seed Fiona Ferro in what is her first WTA quarter-final. 

There were also victories for Greet Minnen and Viktorija Golubic.

Related items

  • Top seed Jabeur advances to Charleston quarters, Osorio Serrano stays hot Top seed Jabeur advances to Charleston quarters, Osorio Serrano stays hot

    Ons Jabeur and in-form Maria Camila Osorio Serrano both progressed to the quarter-finals of the MUSC Health Women's Open.

    Top seed Jabeur eased past American world number 313 Alycia Parks 6-4 6-0 in Charleston on Thursday.

    Eyeing her first WTA Tour title, Tunisian Jabeur will face Nao Hibino for a place in the semi-finals.

    Colombia's Osorio Serrano, who claimed her maiden singles title at the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota last week, rallied past Christina McHale 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-1).

    Osorio Serrano and Clara Tauson will go head-to-head in the quarters at the WTA 250 event.

    Linda Fruhvirtova – the 15-year-old Czech teen – and Astra Sharma also advanced at the expense of Emma Navarro and eighth seed Madison Brengle.

  • Djokovic left feeling 'dismantled' as Nadal breezes past off-colour Dimitrov Djokovic left feeling 'dismantled' as Nadal breezes past off-colour Dimitrov

    Novak Djokovic admitted he played an "awful" match against Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters as Rafael Nadal advanced with ease to the quarter-finals.

    World number one Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since winning a ninth Australian Open in February, suffered his first defeat of 2021 on Thursday.

    Evans, who had never before reached the last eight of a Masters 1000 tournament, won 6-4 7-5 with a performance that belied his relative lack of success on clay.

    The 30-year-old Briton will now meet David Goffin, who surprised fifth seed Alexander Zverev 6-4 7-6 (9-7).

    "To be honest, this has been probably one of the worst matches and performances from my side I can recall in the last years," said Djokovic. "I don't want to take anything away from his win, but from my side, I just felt awful on the court overall. Just nothing worked. It's one of those days."

    Saying he felt "completely the opposite" to Wednesday's win over Jannik Sinner, Djokovic added: "Just was obviously very, very windy, tough to play in these kinds of conditions against a guy like Evans who makes you move. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game."

    Eleven-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal had no such problems in his match as he dismissed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-1 in 55 minutes.

    Nadal, who boasts a 14-1 career record against the Bulgarian, did not face a break point in either set against his off-colour opponent.

    Dimitrov started the match with three double faults in his opening service game and was 4-0 down in each set.

    "[I am] sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth," said Spaniard Nadal. "He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis."

    Nadal will face Andrey Rublev after the Russian battled past Roberto Bautista-Agut 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3.

    Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4, will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next, while Fabio Fognini's straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic set up a meeting with Casper Ruud.

  • Good Evans! Djokovic stunned by Briton Dan in Monte Carlo Good Evans! Djokovic stunned by Briton Dan in Monte Carlo

    Dan Evans produced a stunning victory over Novak Djokovic at the Monte Carlo Masters, revealing the world number one had irritated him before the match even began.

    A 6-4 7-5 victory for 33rd-ranked Evans in his first career clash with Djokovic carried the Briton through to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final and inflicted a first defeat of 2021 on his opponent.

    The seeds of the upset were planted before the players hit the court, Evans later revealed, with the 30-year-old having been irked at having to wait for Djokovic in the locker room.

    Top seed Djokovic was playing his first tournament since winning the Australian Open in February, for his 18th grand slam title, and he found it tough against a player who has previously enjoyed little success on clay.

    "I thought I did a good job to get out of my service games. He had so many break points but didn't take them, so I was a little lucky there," Evans told Amazon Prime.

    "I ran around the first second serve I got, to tell him I'm not going to just stand back and rally, I'm going to try to hit his second serve a little, and I got a few doubles out there."

    Djokovic served four double faults, with Evans setting the tone for the match by surging 3-0 ahead early in the opening set.

    "He kept me waiting at the start of the match in the changing rooms a little bit, so it was a little annoying," Evans said. "I was ready to go from that, so that got me a little extra fired up."

    Rather than being intimidated by the presence of Djokovic on the other side of the net, Evans indicated he treated the Serbian like just another opponent, there to be beaten.

    "That's why we roll the balls out, it's one against one and we've got to see who wins," Evans said.

    "He gave me some cheap ones today which he never normally does, so I was a little lucky there, but I'm just really happy with coming through."

    Evans' win was hailed by former British number one Tim Henman, who said: "He played fantastic tennis. In difficult conditions, he was the one that really dealt with it so well.

    "Those first three games where he got up a double break, that probably changed his mindset. It increased his belief and Djokovic was frustrated, but in so many critical moments it was Evans who came up with the great tennis.

    "It's an unbelievable achievement. Evans has won so few matches on clay so to beat the world number one, it's an amazing win."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.