Beatriz Haddad Maia claimed back-to-back WTA Tour titles after Zhang Shuai retired hurt in the Birmingham Classic final on Sunday.

Haddad Maia enjoyed a fine day, beating second seed and two-time major champion Simona Halep 6-3 2-6 6-4 in a rearranged semi-final (postponed from Saturday due to rain).

Zhang followed that up by battling past Halep's Romanian compatriot Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-1 7-6 (7-5), setting up a second career match with Haddad Maia.

The Brazilian struggled in the opening stages, with Zhang racing into the lead before squandering an opportunity to go 3-0 up.

Haddad Maia soon recovered to level at 3-3 before Zhang was forced to retire with an apparent neck injury, with the Chinese player 5-4 down in the first set.

 

That handed the world number 32 her second straight title after success at the Nottingham Open last week, with Ons Jabeur and Iga Swiatek the only others to record multiple WTA Tour triumphs this year.

Haddad Maia also became the first Brazilian lift the trophy in the tournament's 40-year history, surpassing the previous best result by a player from Brazil when Gisele Miro made the second round in 1989.

Ons Jabeur kept Coco Gauff waiting for a top 10 debut as the Tunisian battled past her teenage opponent to reach the Berlin Open final.

Gauff would have secured a career-high ranking on the WTA list if she had won Saturday's semi-final, but top seed Jabeur took it 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to earn a shot at Belinda Bencic in the title match.

Only world number one Iga Swiatek has won more matches on the WTA Tour than fourth-ranked Jabeur this year, who collected a 29th win as she overcame a 3-1 career head-to-head deficit against Gauff to earn the victory.

Gauff, at 18 years and 98 days, would have become the youngest American to reach a grass-court singles final on tour since Andrea Jaeger was runner-up to Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1983.

It was not to be her day though, Jabeur breaking serve for the fourth time in the match to seal victory, encouraged by a large and vocal Tunisian following.

Reflecting on the match, Jabeur said: "When you play Coco you have to have all the shots. She's a talented player; she's very tough to beat. You can see I've lost already three times against her.

"Sometimes she takes it, sometimes I take it, and it was a great match for both of us."

This is just the second WTA tournament where 27-year-old Jabeur has been a top seed.

"I've tried to act like a number one seed on and off the court, and it's a good pressure," she added. "I'm trying to handle it very well and with the support of our Tunisian people here it's great."

Olympic gold medallist Bencic had earlier claimed an impressive 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-4 win over Greek second seed Maria Sakkari in the first semi-final.

Jabeur was bettered by Bencic in a hard-fought Charleston final in April, but is determined to secure a different outcome this time.

"I'm definitely going for the final revenge because we played each other at Charleston, and it was a very, very tough match," Jabeur said. "I hope she's tired from today's match."

Rain meant there was no play at the Birmingham Classic on Saturday, with the semi-finals set back to Sunday.

Beatriz Haddad Maia will face 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, while Zhang Shuai tackles Sorana Cirstea.

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.

Simona Halep eased into the last eight of the Birmingham Classic with a straight-sets win over Harriet Dart.

Home hope Dart was looking for a second successive quarter-final, having beaten Donna Vekic and Camila Giorgi in Nottingham last week en route to a place in the last eight.

However, Halep illustrated the gulf in class between the two in her last-16 clash with Dart, surging to a 6-3 6-2 victory as she prepares to try to regain the Wimbledon title she won in 2019.

The second seed will next face another Briton, Katie Boulter, who beat Caroline Garcia in straight sets. Halep's Romanian compatriot Sorana Cirstea overcame Aleksandra Krunic, while there were also wins for Giorgi, Zhang Shuai and Vekic.

At the German Open, fourth seed Karolina Pliskova needed two hours and 11 minutes to see off former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

The Czech came through a marathon third set that went to a tie-break, Pliskova having been a break down at 3-1 in the third, prevailing 6-4 2-6 7-6 (9-7).

Pliskova broke Andreescu to level the decider at 5-5 and then saved two break points in her subsequent service game before converting her third match point in the tie-break.

It marked Pliskova's first complete win over Andreescu, her only previous success coming via retirement at the 2019 WTA Finals.

"Of course Bianca is a super-tough opponent, she can really give you anything," Pliskova said after the match. "Slices, she can play fast, she can serve really well, she can come to the net.

"So I think there was a little bit of everything in this match. I'm super proud that I was able to turn the match around, because I was losing in the third set. I thought she was a little bit better in the second and third sets, but I stayed in there and I fought and I got my chances in the end."

French Open runner-up Coco Gauff had an easier time of things in her opening match in Berlin, defeating Ann Li 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

Maria Sakkari got the better of Daria Saville 6-1 7-5, Daria Kasatkina came back from a set down to knock out Ekaterina Alexandrova 5-7 6-1 6-1 and Aliaksandra Sasnovich saw off Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4.

Berlin Open top seeds Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari progressed with relative ease from their first-round matches, but Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza were not so fortunate.

World number four Jabeur, who will team up with Serena Williams at the Eastbourne International, suffered a shock first-round exit at the French Open, but the Tunisian showed no signs of that defeat having affected her in her first grass-court appearance of the season.

Top seed Jabeur required just 73 minutes to overcome Karolina Muchova 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday, with American qualifier Alycia Parks next up after she defeated Qinwen Zheng in straight sets.

Second seed Sakkari, meanwhile, had a similarly comfortable start to her campaign, beating Leolia Jeanjean 6-3 6-2.

Meanwhile, reigning champion Liudmila Samsonova took her place in round two with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Tamara Zidansek.

Samsonova beat Belinda Bencic to claim the title in 2021, and the pair will meet again the quarter-finals should they win respective second-round ties against Veronika Kudermetova and Anna Kalinskaya.

But Kudermetova goes into her clash with Samsonova on a high, having eliminated third seed Sabalenka in a 2-6 7-5 6-4 comeback victory.

WTA Finals champion Muguruza will not be in round two after the Spaniard fell foul of Germany's Andrea Petkovic, who prevailed 7-6 (10-8) 6-4.

"I really do believe that in these really close matches, the simple and little shift of energy can make the difference," Petkovic said.

"If you have the crowd on your side, and they are willing you to the win somehow, I think that can really make a difference."

At the Birmingham Classic, top seed Jelena Ostapenko booked a second-round meeting with Dayana Yastremska.

While Yastremska beat Magda Linette in straight sets, Ostapenko was made to work, with the Latvian requiring two hours to overcome Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-2 5-7 6-3.

Fourth seed Elise Mertens was ditched out by Caty McNally, while former world number two and two-time major champion Petra Kvitova lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Camila Giorgi, the third seed, leads Tereza Martincova after claiming a close first set 9-7 in the tie-break before the match was suspended.

Simona Halep won her first match on grass since 2019 as she cruised past Lesia Tsurenko to reach the second round of the Birmingham Classic on Monday.

Halep's last grass-court match was the impressive 6-2 6-2 defeat of Serena Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

While Monday's triumph may not have been of comparable importance, the 6-1 6-4 win was a positive step in Halep's preparation for a return to SW19 later this month.

After saving three break points in the very first game, the former world number one rarely looked in trouble against her Ukrainian opponent, breaking Tsurenko's serve at the first opportunity.

She repeated the feat to go 5-1 up before serving to love to close out the set, though Tsurenko showed a bit more fight at the start of the second – only one of the first five service games was a hold.

Halep ultimately weathered the storm, however, taking her chance to go 5-4 up and once again served to love to wrap up the match.

Seeded second, Halep was the only seed in action on Monday and will meet home favourite Harriet Dart next, with the Brit impressively seeing off Camila Osorio – ranked 45 places better off – 6-2 6-0.

In Berlin, fourth and sixth seeds Karolina Pliskova and Daria Kasatkina secured their passage to the last 16.

Pliskova struggled initially against Kaia Kanepi but went on to produce two near-flawless sets to progress 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-0 – Kasatkina also came from behind, with an ankle injury to Anhelina Kalinina potentially aiding her 5-7 6-3 6-1 victory.

Bianca Andreescu was also among the winners in Berlin, with the Canadian beating Katerina Siniakova to claim only her second career success on grass.

Ons Jabeur got her first WTA singles title on the board as she overcame Daria Kasatkina to win the Viking Classic in Birmingham.

In her third career final, the Tunisian second seed prevailed 7-5 6-4.

Jabeur's victory saw her inflict defeat on fourth seed Kasatkina, who won a Moscow title-match showdown between the pair in 2018. The other final defeat for Jabeur came earlier this year in Charleston.

The triumph adds to what has been a superb season so far for Jabeur. She has 28 match victories in 2021, matching world number one Ashleigh Barty's tally – no player has more.

Jabeur faced a tough opponent in the form of Kasatkina, who had won the previous two meetings between the pair and has claimed two titles this season.

World number 24 Jabeur started with real intent, breaking immediately, yet Kasatkina hit straight back and then saved three set points.

Jabeur took the set at the fourth time of asking, however, and two breaks got her clear in the second set, with the win wrapped up at the first opportunity when Kasatkina found the net.

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