Coco Gauff reached the first grass-court semi-final of her career by beating Karolina Pliskova at the Berlin Open, teeing up a clash with top seed Ons Jabeur.

Having already recorded her best tour-level run on grass by reaching the final eight, Gauff recorded a superb 7-5 6-4 win over two-time grand slam finalist Pliskova.

Gauff – who reached her first grand slam final at Roland Garros last month, saved four set points in the opener before roaring to victory in one hour and 37 minutes, and was delighted to have overcome a tough opponent in the world number seven.

"I'm super happy with how I played today," Gauff said on court after the win. "Playing her on grass, with her serve, how flat she hits the ball, it was really tough to be honest. 

"A first semi-final on grass is pretty cool, and also I feel like the opponents I've played this week haven’t been easy, especially today, so I'm proud of myself about that."

Gauff will face Jabeur for a spot in the final after the Tunisian fought back from one set down in a 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 6-2 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who entered the contest having won 26 matches during an impressive year.

The other semi-final will see Maria Sakkari face Belinda Bencic, after the world number six cruised to a 6-0 6-3 win over Daria Kasatkina and Bencic beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In the Birmingham Classic, meanwhile, Simona Halep raced to a 6-4 6-1 win over Katie Boulter to reach the final four, but third seed Camila Giorgi fell to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has now won eight consecutive games on grass.

While that pair will face off in one of Saturday's semi-finals, eighth seed Zhang Shuai will face Sorana Cirstea in the other. Zhang overcame Dayana Yastremska 7-5 6-4 and sixth seed Cirstea beat Donna Vekic 5-7 6-3 6-4.

Ons Jabeur held off qualifier Alycia Parks to reach the quarter-finals of the Berlin Open, saving set point before winning a competitive second-set tie-break to set up a last-eight clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Jabeur took one hour and 31 minutes to overcome her stubborn opponent in the German capital, with the world number four triumphing 6-2 7-6 (10-8) to reach her eighth quarter-final of 2022 – each of which have been at WTA 500 level or higher.

The Tunisian will face Sasnovich for a semi-final spot next time out, with the Belarusian having won 26 matches so far this year (including qualifying draws). Only Iga Swiatek (42) and Beatriz Haddad Maia (29) have more victories so far this season on the WTA Tour.

The other seeds in action in Berlin on Thursday also progressed, with Coco Gauff overcoming Wang Xinyu 6-0 6-4 to tee up a clash with Karolina Pliskova, and Belinda Bencic downing Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 1-6 6-1.

Defending champion Ludmilla Samsonova, however, suffered a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 defeat to Veronika Kudermetova.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Classic's top seed Jelena Ostapenko fell to a surprise 3-6 7-5 7-5 last-16 reverse against Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska, who reached her first ever grass-court quarter-final on the WTA tour.

The world number 79 will face Zhang Shuai for a spot in the final four after she fought her way to a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse.

Third seed Camila Giorgi will join them in the last eight after recovering from losing her first set against American Lauren Davis to secure a 3-6 7-5 6-2 win.

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.

Elena Rybakina and Tamara Zidansek were both surprise second-round losers at The Rosmalen Grass Court Championships as numerous top seeds fell on Thursday.

Third favourite Rybakina struggled to find her rhythm and fell to a 6-2 6-4 loss against world number 42 Shelby Rogers.

The American will face Kirsten Flipkens in the quarter-finals in the Netherlands after she eased past Ann Li in straight sets.

Aryna Sabalenka, the favourite at the tournament, had little difficulty in negotiating past Arianne Hartono 6-2 6-3 and she will meet Alison van Uytvanck in the next round.

The Belgian picked up the scalp of compatriot Elise Mertens, the eighth seed, with a 6-2 6-3 win over the world number 29.

Fourth seed Zidansek was another to fall as she suffered a 6-1 6-1 loss to Catherine McNally, while Veronika Kudermetova profited from Anna Blinkova retiring with the match heading for one set each.

Belinda Bencic, the second favourite, will next challenge Kudermetova after she bucked the trend of the day with a battling 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 win over Anna Kalinskaya.

Seventh seed Ekaterina Alexandrova had no trouble in advancing, meanwhile, as she saw off Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-2.

Maria Sakkari found herself 1-0 down against world number 109 Rebecca Marino before rain stopped play at the Nottingham Open, but the top seed responded to claim a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win.

Third seed Camila Giorgi had no such luck against Hannah Dart as she was eliminated 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-3), while Alison Riske and Ajla Tomljanovic beat Caroline Garcia and Katie Boulter respectively in straight sets.

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

Ons Jabuer avenged her recent loss to Belinda Bencic with a win at the Madrid Open, while Coco Gauff is out after being beaten in straight sets in the round of 16 by Simona Halep on Monday.

Gauff joins other big names in exiting the WTA 1000 event, with Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza, Danielle Collins, Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari among those crashing out in the second round.

The number 14 seed did not put up much resistance against her Romanian opponent, with Halep winning 6-4 6-4 in just 77 minutes.

Gauff struggled on her own serve in particular, making six double faults and only winning 61.5 per cent of her first-serve points, compared to 83.8 from Halep on hers.

The former world number one and two-time Madrid champion will now face the only remaining top-eight seed in the tournament in the quarter-final, Jabeur, who defeated Bencic 6-2 3-6 6-2.

The Tunisian was out for revenge after losing to Bencic at the same stage last year, as well as in the Charleston Open final last month, and took it well as she sealed victory in just over two hours.

"I came here to take my revenge," Jabeur said after the win. "I wish I played like that in the final in Charleston, to be honest.

"Part of me is very proud of myself for coming today and getting the win. Belinda is such an amazing player and it's very tough to play against her. I'm very happy with the level I showed today, and hopefully this level will continue for the rest of the tournament."

Elsewhere, Victoria Azarenka is out after the number 15 seed was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Amanda Anisimova, who will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the last eight after she overcame Marie Bouzkova 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 7-5.

Simona Halep blew Paula Badosa away with a Madrid Open masterclass to reach the round of 16 on Saturday.

Second seed Badosa had no answer to the brilliance of Halep in her homeland as the relentless Romanian won 6-3 6-1 at the Caja Magica.

Unseeded two-time grand slam champion Halep took just an hour and 17 minutes to eliminate Badosa, breaking three times in the first set and twice in the second.

Halep, in a new era with Patrick Mouratoglou in her corner, won 84 per cent of points when she landed her first serve in, staying in the hunt to win this tournament for a third time with the French Open on the horizon.

The former world number one will face Coco Gauff for a place in the quarter-finals following the American's 6-1 2-6 6-4 late-night defeat of Yulia Putintseva.

Gauff, the 14th seed, racked up 10 double faults and was pushed all the way by Putintseva, but served out the match after securing a third break in a tight final set.

Ons Jabeur earlier advanced into the third round at the expense of Varvara Gracheva, recovering from a second-set bagel to win 7-5 0-6 6-4.

Jabeur faces a meeting with Belinda Bencic after the Swiss dispatched Karolina Muchova 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Victoria Azarenka came from a set down to beat Tamara Zidansek 3-6 6-1 6-3 to set up a meeting with Amanda Anisimova, who also had to come from behind to dispatch Petra Martic 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marie Bouzkova also progressed in the Spanish capital.

 

 

Belinda Bencic continued her strong run of form in the United States as she defeated world number 10 Ons Jabeur 6-1 5-7 6-4 to win the Charleston Open.

Sunday's success made it 10 victories from her past 11 matches for Bencic, with the lone defeat coming in a semi-final against Naomi Osaka at the Miami Open.

The Swiss Olympic gold medallist flew out of the gates in the opening set, winning 80 per cent of her points on serve (16 of 20) and breaking Jabeur twice.

It was a far more competitive second set as Jabeur's return game improved, the Tunisian also saving six of eight break points to force a decider.

Bencic prevailed in a rollercoaster of a third set, where Jabeur converted two breaks of serve, but the eventual champion managed three, finding a response every time she was challenged.

Jabeur becomes the second top-10 scalp claimed by Bencic this tournament after also defeating world number three Paula Badosa in three sets in the quarter-finals.

Belinda Bencic wondered if she would ever be able to compete for titles on clay but will do exactly that on Sunday.

The Swiss reached her first ever WTA Tour final on the red dirt of the Charleston Open, beating semi-final opponent Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3.

Although she has four WTA titles to her name, this was only Bencic's third last-four appearance on clay – losing the prior two, including a 2014 Charleston challenge as a 17-year-old.

But she finally has glory in her sights, and the omens are good for the final, facing Ons Jabeur having won their only prior meeting in 2021 at the Madrid Open, another clay-court event.

"I'm happy this moment came," Bencic said. "I didn't think it would, but I'm super happy with how I played today. I thought it was a great match in tough conditions."

Bencic needed only 78 minutes to complete the job, but Jabeur found life tougher, forced to rally from a set down to Amanda Anisimova.

The 20-year-old American had herself recovered to eliminate top seed Aryna Sabalenka earlier in the tournament but was now on the wrong side of such a comeback.

Jabeur, who lost in the final of the WTA 250 Charleston Open II last year, prevailed 2-6 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, at the Copa Colsanitas, there will be no repeat win for Camila Osorio after the defending champion and top seed lost to Laura Pigossi in straight sets in the semis.

Tatjana Maria is now Pigossi's opponent in the title match.

Belinda Bencic has beaten world number three Paula Badosa 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to move on to the semi-finals of the Charleston Open.

Bencic, the 10th seed, appeared overmatched early on as she won less than half (12-25) of her service points in the opening set, getting her serve broken twice.

But as Bencic found her rhythm with her serve – winning 77 per cent of her first-serve points in the second set (24-31) – she wrestled the momentum away from Badosa, dominating the tie-break before breaking in the opening game of the third frame.

Bencic will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semi-final after the Russian dominated Magda Linette 6-0 6-2.

For the match, Alexandrova won 62 per cent of her points on serve (28-45) and 62 per cent of her points on return (26-42).

Fourth seed Ons Jabeur needed just 64 minutes to get the job done 6-3 6-2 against Anhelina Kalinina, winning 81 per cent of her successful first serves (29-36).

Jabeur will play 15th seed Amanda Anisimova in the semi-final after the American cruised past compatriot Coco Vandeweghe 6-1 6-2.

It was not a perfect performance from Anisimova, but she saved all five break points that she faced to never allow her opponent to get close.

Meanwhile, in Bogota at the Copa Colsanitas, top seed Camila Osorio is through to the semi-final after defeating Elina Avanesyan 6-1 6-4, where she will meet Laura Pigossi.

World number five and the tournament's top seed, Aryna Sabalenka, was upset by American Amanda Anisimova 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the third round at the Charleston Open.

Sabalenka's serve was the key to her early success, connecting on 73 per cent of her first serves, and winning 15 of the 19 points in that situation (79 per cent).

When Sabalenka's first serve percentage fell to 48 in the second set, Anisimova found her footing, breaking twice in the frame, before pouncing on the Belarusian's lacklustre second serve in the deciding set, winning seven of nine opportunities to earn the break and the win.

Sixth seed Jessica Pegula was also bounced in surprising fashion, losing 6-4 3-6 6-4 to unseeded compatriot Coco Vandeweghe.

In a razor-close contest, it came down to who took their chances, as Vandeweghe saved seven of the 10 break points she faced, while Pegula could only save one of five.

World number 10 Ons Jabeur had no problem navigating the challenge of Emma Navarro, winning 6-3 6-2 as she broke her opponent's serve on six occasions.

Canadian seventh seed Leylah Hernandez also fell victim to an unseeded upset, going down 3-6 6-3 6-4 against Poland's Magda Linette.

In a meeting between two top-10 seeds, Belinda Bencic got the better of Madison Keys to edge it 6-4 6-4.

Second seed Paula Badosa had to come from a set down to eventually get the better of Claire Liu 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1.

In the late session, French 12th seed Alize Cornet went down in a close tussle against Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, while Jabeur won her second match of the day, beating Irina Begu 6-3 6-2.

Meanwhile, in Bogota at the Copa Colsanitas, top seed Camila Osorio dispatched Turkish opponent Ipek Oz 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to move on to the quarter-final where she will meet Elina Avanesyan.

Belinda Bencic survived a scare as she advanced to the Charleston Open second round with a 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Wang Xiyu.

The Olympic gold medallist was a semi-finalist in Miami last time out, while she has also reached the quarter-finals in Sydney and St Petersburg this year.

However, the 10th seed was in danger of falling at the first hurdle at 5-2 down in the second set against world number 149 Wang.

Bencic rallied to force a tie-break and, subsequently, a deciding set, which she controlled to set up a second-round clash with 16-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.

Magda Linette also fought back from the brink of defeat; the world number 64 saving a match point before prevailing against Maria Voleynets 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Although, there was no joy for former champion Sloane Stephens, who was beaten in three sets by Zheng Qinwen.

Stephens – winner here in 2016 – recovered from losing the opening set 6-3 to take the second 6-4. But there was no denying the Chinese teenager, who dropped just nine points as she raced through the decider 6-0 to claim the first top-50 win of her career.

The likes of Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys were due to feature in the evening session, which was postponed due to severe inclement weather including the possible threat of a tornado.

In Bogota, top seed and home favourite Camila Osorio advanced to the last 16, but only after opponent Ylena In-Albon was forced to retire at 2-2 in the deciding set.

Fourth seed Hanna Udvardy and eighth seed Harriet Dart were beaten in straight sets by Dayana Yastremska and Elina Avanesyan respectively.

Naomi Osaka is through to her first tournament final since her 2021 Australian Open win, getting past Belinda Bencic 6-4 3-6 6-4 at the Miami Open on Thursday.

The reigning Olympic champion looked strong early, breaking twice to go up 4-1 as she took advantage of Osaka's second serve, winning nine of the 11 second serves she saw in the opening set.

As Osaka's success on second serve cleaned up in the second set, Bencic's avenue to victory vanished, unable to save either of the two break points she faced in the second set.

Osaka's first serve percentage shot up to 70 in the deciding set, winning 87 per cent of points on first serve (20-23) to shut the door. Despite Bencic breaking back once after going down a double-break, she was unable to stop her Japanese opponent from serving it out.

Speaking on court after her win, the Florida native was emotional, shedding some tears as she thanked the fans in attendance.

"I just wanted to say thank you everyone, the atmosphere was really good," she said.

"Damn, I'm always crying. I just wanted to say thank you, this tournament really means a lot to me and it's my first time in the finals here."

World number-one-in-waiting Iga Swiatek twice came back from a break down in the second set to overcome the challenge of American Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5.

The straight sets win for the 20-year-old Polish star means she has now not dropped a set in eight straight matches dating back to the fourth round at the Indian Wells Open where she beat Angelique Kerber two sets to one. 

Against Pegula, Swiatek was simply too strong in the opening set, breaking twice in four tries when Pegula's second serve was vulnerable, with the American only winning 27 per cent of her second serve points (4-15) in the opening frame.

The second set was far more competitive, but Swiatek remained just slightly better both on serve and in the return game in a set where four consecutive games resulted in breaks in a seesawing contest.

Pegula refused to let the top seed serve it out comfortably, saving two match points to extend the second set at 5-5. It was just delaying the inevitable as Swiatek broke back instantly and held her nerve, and serve, to avoid a tie-break.

 

Naomi Osaka will make her first Miami Open semi-final appearance after defeating Danielle Collins 6-2 6-1 on Tuesday.

The Florida native and the 2022 Australian Open finalist were worlds apart on serve, with Osaka putting up 13 aces, while Collins served seven double faults and had a meagre first-serve rate of 37.8 per cent.

While dropping only three games provides ample reflection, Osaka was in almost total control, winning 28 of 38 total points on serve and over half of the points on return with 26 out of 45. Her 25 winners to three unforced errors only reinforced the dominant nature of the win.

The Japanese former world number one has not dropped a set en route to the semi-final, and did not face a single break point against Collins, who called a medical time-out to address a neck issue after the first set.

"I'm glad I was able to get through quickly," Osaka said post-match. "I focused on trying to hit a lot of really good returns.

"This is actually my first night match too, so I didn't know what the conditions were going to be like."

Osaka will face reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who comfortably saw her way past Daria Saville with a 6-1 6-2 win.

The Tokyo gold medallist progressed to her first WTA 1000 semi-final since Madrid in 2019, needing just 69 minutes to defeat the unseeded Australian.

With Saville serving at 51 per cent for the match, Bencic was all over the second look, winning 18 of a total 23 points in those scenarios.

The critical element of the match was the Swiss 22nd seed's ruthlessness on break point, converting seven out of total eight times.

World number two Iga Swiatek showed why she is next in line to occupy the top ranking as she comfortably handled the challenge of 14 seed Cori Gauff 6-3 6-1 to earn a spot in the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Swiatek, 20, will become the first Polish-born man or woman to earn the number one singles ranking when it is next updated on April 4, after Ash Barty's retirement, and she never gave Gauff a chance.

She won all eight of her service games in the match, and broke Gauff's serve four times in eight chances to rattle off five consecutive games to close the match.

After a walkover in her last fixture, Naomi Osaka was strong on her way to a 6-3 6-4 win against Alison Riske.

Both women produced break points throughout the match, but while Osaka saved seven out of eight, coming back to double-break after her slip-up in the second set, Riske could only save nine of 12.

In a clash between top-10 seeds, Danielle Collins was terrific in her 6-2 6-4 win against Ons Jabeur.

The match was decided by each woman's success on their second serve, as Jabeur had the better first serve, but could only win 31 per cent of her second serves (8-26), while Collins was an even 73 per cent on both her first and second attempts.

Daria Saville continued her march back up the rankings with a 5-7 6-4 7-5 win against Lucia Bronzetti, making it nine wins from her past 10 matches for the Australian ranked 249 in the world after recently returning from a long-term achilles injury.

Saville will play Switzerland's Belinda Bencic after she breezed past Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-3, while Petra Kvitova got the better of higher-ranked Veronika Kudermetova 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

American Jessica Pegula was nearly flawless on her way to a 6-0 first set before Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina retired due to injury, while world number six Paula Badosa beat wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-3.

 

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