Saturday, August 8, 2015

Kerber outlasts Radwanska in Stanford thriller

Angelique Kerber beat Agnieszka Radwanska in one
of the best matches of the year. Photo by Mal Taam
   The quarterfinal between Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska lived up to its billing, and then some.
   In a matchup of the last two Bank of the West Classic runners-up, the fifth-seeded Kerber outlasted the second-seeded Radwanska 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours, 26 minutes on Friday night at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   Kerber, a 27-year-old German, and Radwanska, a 26-year-old Pole, have several similarities. They're both 5-foot-8 (1.73-meter) counterpunchers. Kerber even lives in Poland. The biggest difference is that Kerber is left-handed and Radwanska right-handed.
   They thrilled an announced crowd of 2,424 with many long, spirited rallies in one of the best matches on the WTA tour this year.
   Radwanska finally gave Kerber an opening, double-faulting at 4-4, 30-30 in the third set. Kerber then won a long point to break and held serve at love for the match. 
   "I think we both played close to perfect tennis," Kerber, last year's runner-up to Serena Williams, said after leveling her record against Radwanska at 5-5. "I was happy to win the match, but at the end, I think we both should have won."
   Radwanska couldn't capitalize on a break point at 4-3 in the second set.
Radwanska lamented her missed oppor-
tunities. Photo by Mal Taam
   "In a tight (match) where your opponent is playing great tennis, there are always turnarounds," said Radwanska, who lost to Dominika Cibulkova in the 2013 final. "I just needed those few important points that were there, and I didn't take them. Otherwise, it was a great match."
   Kerber will face eighth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in today's second semifinal at 4 p.m. (ESPN2). The 20-year-old Svitolina, a French Open quarterfinalist in June, defeated American Alison Riske 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Riske, 25, served for the match at 6-4, 5-4.
   Kerber and Svitolina have split their four matches, but Svitolina has won the last two.
   In the first semifinal at noon (ESPN2), fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will meet unseeded Varvara Lepchenko of the United States.
   Pliskova, 6-foot-1 (1.86 meters), beat Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-2, 6-4. The 11th-ranked Pliskova will debut in the top 10 when the new rankings are released on Monday.
   Lepchenko, a native of Uzbekistan who became a U.S. citizen in 2011, downed Mona Barthel of Germany 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3 to reach the Bank of the West semifinals for the second straight year.
   Pliskova is 2-0 against Lepchenko, but both matches have gone three sets.
At Stanford
Singles quarterfinals
   Karolina Pliskova (4), Czech Republic, def. Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, 6-2, 6-4.
   Elina Svitolina (8), Ukraine, def. Alison Riske, United States, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
   Varvara Lepchenko, United States, def. Mona Barthel, Germany, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-3.
   Angelique Kerber (5), Germany, def. Agnieszka Radwanska (2), Poland, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Doubles quarterfinal
   Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja (2), Spain, def. Chin-Wei Chan, Taiwan, and Darija Jurak, Croatia, 6-3, 7-5.
Today's schedule
Stadium Court
(Starting at noon)
   Karolina Pliskova (4), Czech Republic, vs. Varvara Lepchenko, United States.
   Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine, and Tatjana Maria, Germany, vs. Yi-Fan Xu and Saisai Zheng, China (possible court change).
(Not before 4 p.m.)
   Angelique Kerber (5), Germany, vs. Elina Svitolina (8), Ukraine.
   Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja (2), Spain, vs. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada, and Alicja Rosolska (3), Poland.

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