Friday, August 7, 2020

Giorgi saves two match points in win; more Open exits

   Italy's last hope was down to her last point today.
   Unseeded Camila Giorgi, one of the hardest hitters on the WTA Tour despite standing only 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters), saved two match points and went on to defeat seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Palermo Ladies Open.
   The 2-hour, 52-minute match ended at 1:27 a.m. local time in the first WTA or ATP tournament since the tours shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Giorgi, the top-ranked Italian at No. 89, escaped two match points at 4-5 in the second set with blistering returns-of-serve and broke serve with the help of three of Yastremska's 16 double faults (Giorgi had 12) to lead 4-3 in the third set.
   Losing earlier in the clay-court tournament were Italian wild cards Elisabetta Cocciaretto, 19, and Sara Errani, 33. Fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit of Estonia conquered Cocciaretto 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, and unseeded Fiona Ferro of France eliminated Errani, a two-time Palermo champion (2008 and 2012), 6-4, 6-1.
   Ferro, ranked No. 53, is the only semifinalist who has not lost a set. Errani, who was suspended for 10 months in 2018 after failing a drug test, has tumbled from a career-high No. 5 in 2013 to No. 169.
   In Saturday's first semifinal, top-seeded Petra Martic of Croatia will meet Kontaveit, ranked No. 22, at 8 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Martic, ranked No. 15, advanced with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) victory over qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a Belarusian formerly ranked 30th, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3). 
   Martic beat Kontaveit 7-6 (4), 6-1 on a hardcourt in Dubai in February in their only previous meeting. Ferro and Giorgi will meet for the first time.
   Three of the semifinalists have reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal: Martic (2019 French Open), Kontaveit (2020 Australian Open) and Giorgi (2018 Wimbledon). The 23-year-old Ferro's best Grand Slam result is the third round of last year's U.S. Open.
   In a doubles semifinal today, Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia edged Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 1-6, 7-6 (4) [13-11]. 
   The other semifinal is set for Saturday. Fourth-seeded Bibiane Schoofs and Rosalie Van Der Hoek of the Netherlands will play Cocciaretto and countrywoman Martina Trevisan, a 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) left-hander.
   U.S. Open – Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, ranked fifth, and the Netherlands' Kiki Bertens, ranked seventh, said they will bypass the U.S. Open, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13, because of coronavirus concerns.
   Svitolina reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last year. Bertens' best result in eight appearances at Flushing Meadows is the third round the past two years. She advanced to the semifinals of the French Open in 2016 and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2018.
   Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Roger Federer's record of 20, and top-ranked Ashleigh Barty also have chosen not to play in the U.S. Open because of the pandemic. Federer, a five-time U.S. Open champion who will turn 39 on Saturday, is out for the year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery for the second time this year in May.
   The women's field includes defending champion Bianca Andreescu; former champions Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka; multiple Grand Slam winners Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber; and this year's only Grand Slam titlist to date, Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin
   The men's field features seven top-10 players: No. 1 Novak Djokovic (a three-time U.S. Open champion), No. 3 Dominic Thiem, No. 5 Daniil Medvedev (last year's runner-up), No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 7 Alexander Zverev, No. 8 Matteo Berrettini and No. 10 David Goffin.

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