WTA

Top seed Sakkari humbled by Haddad Maia in Nottingham, Bencic beaten in Netherlands

By Sports Desk June 10, 2022

Top seed Maria Sakkari was eliminated from the Nottingham Open at the quarter-final stage by world number 48 Beatriz Haddad Maia on Friday.

Haddad Maia made it three career wins out of three against Sakkari with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory to reach her first WTA semi-final on grass.

The Brazilian will now take on Tereza Martincova, who beat last year's runner-up Zhang Shuai 6-3 6-2, for a place in Sunday's final.

Sixth seed Alison Riske is also through to the last four after recovering from a set down to beat home favourite Harriet Dart 4-6 6-2 6-1.

Riske's sixth career semi-final on grass will come against Viktorija Golubic, who surprised Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3 7-6 (8-6) in the final match of the day.

At The Rosmalen Grass Court Championships, second seed Belinda Bencic's participation was ended with a straight-sets defeat to Veronika Kudermetova.

French Open quarter-finalist Kudermetova prevailed 6-4 6-2 in 87 minutes to snap a three-match losing streak against Bencic.

Russian compatriot Ekaterina Alexandrova is up next in the semi-finals after easing past American qualifier Caty McNally 6-0 6-1

Top seed Aryna Sabalenka is into her third semi-final in her past five tournaments, meanwhile, thanks to a 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5) win over Alison Van Uytvanck.

Shelby Rogers, a 3-6 6-1 6-4 winner against Kirsten Flipkens, awaits Sabalenka in Saturday's semi-final.

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    Anett Kontaveit secured a spot in the semi-finals of the Tallinn Open after overcoming Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3 3-6 6-3.

    On home soil, the top seed won 80 per cent of total service points in the opening set but Bonaventure fought back in the second to send the match to a deciding set.

    A valiant effort from Kontaveit in the third set secured a spot in the final four, where she will face compatriot Kaia Kanepi after her 6-2 3-6 7-6 (8-6) victory over Karolina Muchova in the final match of the day.

    Earlier on Friday, second seed Belinda Bencic defeated Donna Vekic to set up a semi-final clash against Barbora Krejcikova, who defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets.

    At the Parma Ladies Open, the scheduled semi-finals were postponed due to rain and will instead be played on Saturday, with the final to follow later in the day.

    Top seed Maria Sakkari faces Danka Kovinic, with play to begin at 10:30 local time, and will be followed by Ana Bogdan against Mayar Sherif.

  • Djokovic through to semis in Tel Aviv, Sinner to face Rune in Sofia Djokovic through to semis in Tel Aviv, Sinner to face Rune in Sofia

    Novak Djokovic sealed his place in the final four at the Tel Aviv Open after beating one of his "best friends" Vasek Pospisil on Friday.

    The Serbian was made to work hard by his Canadian opponent, particularly in the first set, but eventually won 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

    Djokovic was particularly impressive on his second serve, winning 70 per cent of them, only four per cent less than his first serve success rate, and he hit just eight unforced errors compared to Pospisil's 21.

    "It was a great, positive win," Djokovic said afterwards. "Vasek is one of my best friends on the Tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that.

    "I think the level of tennis was really high. Especially towards the end of the first set and the second set. Credit to him for fighting. It's great to see him back."

    The number one seed will play Roman Safiullin in the semi-finals after the Russian beat Arthur Rinderknech 6-4 6-1.

    Constant Lestienne came through a tight contest with Maxime Cressy, winning 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-3), and will face number two seed Marin Cilic in the other semi after the Croatian was handed a bye following Liam Broady's withdrawal prior to their match.

    At the Sofia Open, Jannik Sinner remains on course for a third successive title at the tournament, setting up a final-four encounter with Holger Rune after easing past Aleksandar Vukic 6-2 6-3, with Rune eventually dispatching Ilya Ivashka 6-2 5-7 6-4.

    The other semi-final in Bulgaria will see Lorenzo Musetti take on Marc-Andrea Huesler after both won their respective quarter-finals against Jan-Lennard Struff and Kamil Majchrzak.

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    Casper Ruud stumbled to defeat against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka as the French Open and US Open runner-up bowed out in the Korea Open quarter-finals.

    World number two Ruud lost 6-2 3-6 6-2 in Seoul on Friday as the Norwegian found the going too tough in his first tournament in Asia for three years.

    Ranked 56th before this week, Nishioka is one win away from vaulting back into the top 50, potentially going beyond his highest ranking of 48th if he reaches the final.

    He said, quoted on the ATP website: "I feel great. My motivation is very high. I am playing very well, very smart."

    Assessing top seed Ruud, Nishioka said: "I know he came from Europe and played at the Laver Cup, which is not easy matches. He wasn't settled on this court or this country yet, maybe. I was ready. I was focused on playing against him and I had a plan and it worked."

    Nishioka had an outstanding run to the Washington final in August, before losing out to Nick Kyrgios in the title match. That was a major outlier in his season, which has consisted largely of early-round defeats.

    His semi-final opponent will be American Aleksandar Kovacevic, a 24-year-old world number 222 who is enjoying the biggest week of his career. A 'lucky loser', handed his place in the draw when a spot opened up, Kovacevic has taken full advantage and beat compatriot Mackenzie McDonald 4-6 6-3 6-2 in their last-eight battle.

    Canadian Denis Shapovalov, still seeking a first final appearance of the year, moved one step away by beating Moldova's Radu Albot 6-2 6-2, setting up a clash with American Jenson Brooksby, who was handed a bye due to Cameron Norrie pulling out with illness.

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