Swiatek races into Dubai semi-finals while double faults cost Gauff

Swiatek races into Dubai semi-finals while double faults cost Gauff

Iga Swiatek, the top seed, easily defeated Zheng Qinwen 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

In just 86 minutes, Swiatek successfully saved all three break points and broke Zheng a total of three times, defeating the Australian Open finalist. This marks her sixth consecutive win against Zheng.

According to Swiatek, Zheng possesses strong power and topspin, which requires one to be prepared. Zheng also aims to take the initiative, so one must match her intensity. Swiatek has been able to keep up with this level of play during their previous matches.

Swiatek hit 17 winners to 10 unforced errors. Zheng had 19 and 18, respectively, however she landed only 48% of her first serves.

Swiatek will face Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, who overcame a rough first set to earn a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over the third seed Coco Gauff. Kalinskaya benefited from eight double faults from Gauff to win her match in 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Following the game, Kalinskaya immediately shifted her focus to Swiatek. “I faced [Swiatek] in doubles quite some time ago,” Kalinskaya stated. “I’m extremely eager for [Friday]. I’ll do my best to bounce back. I’ve yet to compete against her in a singles match.”

On Thursday, Sorana Cirstea from Romania lost the initial set and was behind 5-1 in the second set, but managed to come back and win 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2 against Marketa Vondrousova, the champion of Wimbledon from the Czech Republic.

Cirstea described her victory, which took 2 hours and 41 minutes, as the greatest comeback of her career. She admitted that when she was down a set and 5-1, she didn’t believe she could win. Instead, she focused on making the match more enjoyable for the spectators and playing better tennis. She is still amazed that she was able to pull off the win.

Cirstea used powerful serves to prevent losing the match at 5-1 during the second set. She successfully defended another point with a well-placed volley at 5-2. Despite being seeded seventh, Vondrousova wasted six opportunities to win the match and ultimately lost.

Cirstea will continue her pursuit of a championship as she takes on unseeded Italian Jasmine Paolini. Paolini received a walkover victory after fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan withdrew due to an illness affecting her gastrointestinal system.

Cameron Norrie is on track to defend his championship title at the Rio Open as he comfortably advanced to the quarter-finals. The top-ranked British player claimed victory at the same event in Brazil last year and his chance for a repeat win became more favorable when top seed Carlos Alcaraz pulled out due to injury earlier in the week. In his latest match on the clay court, Norrie easily defeated Chilean player Tomas Barrios Vera with a score of 6-1, 6-1, only dropping two games.

Cameron Norrie hits a forehand in Rio on route to the quarter-finalsView image in fullscreen

Barrios Vera, who is currently ranked 120th in the world, was unable to compete with Norrie. Despite an initial exchange of breaks, Norrie went on to win four consecutive games and the first set. Norrie then easily won four more games in a row to secure a spot in the quarter-finals, where he will face Thiago Seyboth Wild.

“I had a great performance and my shots were precise. I was able to hit the lines and maintain control throughout the games,” Norrie stated during an interview on Sky Sports. “Despite the delay due to rain last night, I was able to stay focused and reset before continuing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Overall, I am very satisfied with my performance.”

I will continue to concentrate on my personal development and performance. My goal is to handle my matches with care. The conditions have been challenging with high humidity and rain, making the clay courts heavy. Despite the difficulties, I am confident in my ability to perform well in longer matches.

In the ATP Los Cabos quarter-finals, Australian player Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated Dan Evans 6-4, 6-2 with ease. The match lasted just over two hours and was Kokkinakis’ second consecutive victory over a British opponent. Earlier in the week, he also beat world No 53 Jack Draper.

Kokkinakis reached his initial quarter-final at the tour level since the start of 2023, obtaining a victory with five aces compared to Evans’ three. Evans committed three double faults during the game, while Kokkinakis performed better under pressure, saving four out of five break points against him. This defeat also marks Evans’ third loss to the Australian.

In the upcoming match, Kokkinakis will face off against Alexander Zverev, currently ranked 6th in the world and the top seed at Los Cabos.