A maiden clay-court title dramatically slipped from Johanna Konta's grasp as Maria Sakkari came from a set and a break down to claim her first WTA Tour crown with a 2-6 6-4 6-1 win in the Rabat Open final.

Sakkari, who eliminated top seed and defending champion Elise Mertens on her way to the final, looked set to suffer defeat when she lost the opening set and then dropped serve in the fifth game of the second.

However, Konta could not capitalise on her dominant position and her opponent levelled the contest before surging to victory in the decider.

Sakkari will break into the world's top 50 when the new rankings are released on Monday, while Konta can at least take heart from reaching her first final in 11 months.

 

Qualifier Jil Teichmann continued to upset the odds by beating Barbora Strycova to reach a first WTA Tour final at the Prague Open on Friday.

The Swiss left-hander needed just 76 minutes to beat ninth seed Strycova 6-3 6-0 for her best WTA Tour win by ranking and tournament round.

Teichmann had double Strycova's winners (22 to 11), while the Czech failed to convert any of her break-point chances.

Home favourite Karolina Muchova also reached a maiden Tour final by overcoming Bernarda Pera 6-2 7-5 in the other semi-final.

At Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, Johanna Konta reached a first final in 10 months thanks to a 6-2 7-6 (9-7) triumph over fourth seed and 2018 finalist Ajla Tomljanovic.

Before this week, the Briton had failed to piece together more than two straight WTA main-draw wins on clay.

Maria Sakkari followed up her beating of defending champion Elise Mertens with a 6-4 6-4 triumph over Alison van Uytvanck to book her spot in the final. 

Bernarda Pera put an end to Wang Qiang's hopes of glory in Prague, while Elise Mertens' reign in Rabat came to an end on Thursday.

Pera caused an upset in the last eight of the Prague Open, overcoming third seed Wang 6-0 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to reach her second semi-final on the WTA Tour.

The American let slip a 5-2 lead in the second set but rallied impressively in the decider to clinch victory. Next up will be Karolina Muchova, who defeated Natalia Vikhlyantseva in straight sets to progress.

Muchova is one of two Czech players through to the last four – she is joined by Barbora Strycova, the ninth seed overcoming her sixth-seeded compatriot Katerina Siniakova, dropping just three games in the process.

Jil Teichmann, meanwhile, made it through to her maiden semi-final by dismissing the challenge of German Tamara Korpatsch in a one-sided clash.

At the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, defending champion Mertens was surprisingly beaten 6-4 7-6 (7-2) by Maria Sakkari.

Sakkari, the sixth seed, is still yet to drop a set at the tournament and will go up against another Belgian in Alison Van Uytvanck, who hit back in style after falling a set down versus Ysaline Bonaventure, in the semi-finals on Friday.

In the other half of the draw, Johanna Konta lost the opening set in a tie-break against second seed Hsieh Su-wei but went on to secure a 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-4 win.

Ajla Tomljanovic, who triumphed 6-2 6-4 against Rebecca Peterson, stands between Konta and a place in the final.

Wang Qiang and Elise Mertens each triumphed in their respective tournaments on a day of few shocks on the WTA Tour.

World number 16 Wang was in action at the Prague Open and was pushed to three sets by Mandy Minella but ultimately emerged victorious, winning 6-1 4-6 6-4.

A clash with Bernarda Pera, who defeated Antonia Lottner in straight sets, awaits the third seed in the last eight.

There will be at least one home representative in the last four after Czech seeds Barbora Strycova and Katerina Sinakova eased through to set up a quarter-final meeting.

Fellow home favourite Karolina Muchova is also into the next round, along with Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Jil Teichmann and Tamara Korpatsch.

At the Grand Prix de Sar la Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, Mertens raced through 6-4 6-0 against Ivana Jorovic.

The seeds were untouchable in Morocco, too, although Hsieh Su-wei had to come from behind to defeat Lara Arruabarrena 4-6 7-5 6-3.

Ajla Tomljanovic and Johanna Konta also needed three sets to win, but Maria Sakkari defeated Isabella Shinikova in straight sets, while Alison van Uytvanck did likewise against Varvara Lepchenko, dropping just four games.

Rebecca Peterson and Ysaline Bonaventure complete the quarter-final draw.

Svetlana Kuznetsova dumped last year's runner-up Mihaela Buzarnescu out of the Prague Open on Tuesday with a straight-sets victory.

Buzarnescu, the world number 29, was meeting Kuznetsova for the first time and the fourth seed came undone at the hands of the two-time grand slam champion in an hour and 25 minutes.

Kuznetsova won 76 per cent of points on her first serve and was broken only once in a 6-4 6-2 success in which she broke Buzarnescu four times.

Second seed Anastasija Sevastova lost in three sets to Anastasia Potapova and fifth seed Danielle Collins succumbed to American compatriot Jennifer Brady in a match that also went the distance.

Wang Qiang avoided a surprise exit, the third seed coming through 6-3 3-6 6-2 against Margarita Gasparyan after two hours and 15 minutes.

Viktoria Kuzmova, seeded seventh, bowed out in the first round as she lost 6-3 6-3 to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova. There was better fortune for sixth seed Katerina Siniakova and ninth seed Barbora Strycova, who claimed straight-sets wins over Dalila Jakupovic and 2017 champion Mona Barthel respectively.

Defending champion Elise Mertens, top seed and the only top-20 player in the draw at the Grand Prix de Sar la Princesse Lalla Meryem, needed just over an hour to dispatch Belgian countrywoman Kirsten Flipkens 6-3 6-1.

Johanna Konta, the seventh seed, saved three match points in a remarkable comeback against Wang Yafan. She trailed 6-4 6-5 and fell 0-40 down, only to win 12 straight points to win a tie-break and force a decider that she claimed to progress 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-4.

Second seed Hsieh Su-wei was victorious in a three-set contest with Daria Gavrilova, 2018 runner-up Ajla Tomljanovic beat Fiona Ferro in straight sets and Maria Sakkari dropped only two games against Olga Danilovic in Rabat.

Top seed Karolina Pliskova has been forced to withdraw from the Prague Open due to a viral illness.

The world number five decided to play at last week's Stuttgart Open, losing in the last 16 to Victoria Azarenka, but has been unable to train in full for the start of the clay-court season.

"I've been in pain all month and I can't train," Pliskova said on her official website.

"On Tuesday, I was determined to opt out of the Stuttgart tournament, but in the end I tried to play. In fact, I expected the performance to be much worse."

Barbora Strycova takes Pliskova's place in the draw in Prague, where there was no play on Monday due to rain.

There was, however, action at the Grand Prix de Sar la Princesse Lalla Meryem in Rabat, including a surprise early exit for Yulia Putintseva.

The third seed claimed the opening set but eventually went down 3-6 6-4 6-3 to Tamara Zidansek after two hours and 22 minutes on court.

There was better news for eighth seed Alison Van Uytvanck - she reached the second round with a 6-4 6-3 win over Pauline Parmentier thanks to crucial breaks at the end of each set.

"I think it's always difficult to play against Pauline in the first round, especially on clay," the Belgian told the WTA Tour's website.

"I knew it would be tough, so I'm happy with the way that I played. I was playing aggressively without making many unforced errors."

Ana Bogdan defeated Alize Cornet 6-3 6-3 and there were also victories in straight sets for Rebecca Peterson and Isabella Shinikova, as they knocked out Viktorija Golubic and Tatjana Maria respectively.

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