Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Kenin, Tsitsipas avenge losses to reach semis in Paris

Sofia Kenin, playing in the 2018 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger, beat
fellow American Danielle Collins 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 today in the French
Open. Kenin had been 0-3 against Collins. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sofia Kenin and Stefanos Tsitsipas gained revenge today to reach the French Open semifinals.
   The fourth-seeded Kenin beat unseeded Danielle Collins 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in an all-American matchup in Paris. Collins, an Australian Open semifinalist last year, suffered from an apparent stomach ailment in the third set.
   Kenin, who won her first Grand Slam title in this year's Australian Open, had never won a set against Collins in three career meetings. 
   The fifth-seeded Tsitsipas, from Greece, outclassed 13th-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 in a clash of 22-year-old rising stars. Rublev defeated Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 10 days ago in the Hamburg final.
   Both Kenin, 21, and Collins, 26, have excelled in Northern California. Kenin won Challengers in Sacramento in 2016 at 17, Stockton in 2017 and Berkeley in 2018. Collins reached the final of the inaugural (2018) Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., on the WTA Tour.
   Rublev also is no stranger to NorCal. He lost to former world No. 2 Tommy Haas in the first round of the 2015 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17.
   Kenin will face seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Thursday after the 6 a.m. (PDT) semifinal between unseeded Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland and qualifier Nadia Podoroska of Argentina (Tennis Channel).
   Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion and a French Open semifinalist in 2012, dismissed unseeded Laura Siegemund, who won the U.S. Open doubles crown with Vera Zvonareva last month, 6-3, 6-3. 
   Kvitova, a 30-year-old left-hander, is 2-0 (1-0 on clay) against Kenin. Kvitova suffered career-threatening cuts to her left hand in a December 2016 attack at her home in the Czech Republic and missed more than four months.
   Tsitsipas, a semifinalist in last year's Australian Open, will take on top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who won the 2016 French Open to complete a career Grand Slam, on Friday. 
   Djokovic defeated 17th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 in a rematch of their infamous fourth-round encounter in the U.S. Open last month. Djokovic was defaulted after losing his serve to trail 5-6 in the first set and accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball in anger. It's the 33-year-old Serb's only loss in 37 matches this year.
   Djokovic, who's right-handed with a two-handed backhand, played today with tape on his neck to address a nagging problem and took a medical timeout for a left-arm issue after losing the first set.
   "I definitely didn't feel great coming onto the court today," Djokovic said on "I don't want to take away anything from his good performance. Especially for a set and a half, he was the better player, dictating play. I was very neutral.
   "I didn't have much energy really ... in my legs or movement or game itself. It took me about a set and a half to really get comfortable and start really playing the way I should."
   Countered Carreno Busta: "Every time the (match) gets complicated, he asks for medical assistance. He has been doing this for a long time. I knew what would happen at the U.S. Open, what would happen here and what will continue to happen."
   Djokovic is 3-2 (1-0 on clay) against Tsitsipas with straight-set victories in their last two meetings, both on hardcourts.
   In the women's doubles quarterfinals, 14th-seeded Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Desirae Krawczyk of the United States eliminated seventh-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan 6-0, 6-4.
   Each player except Aoyama was born in the U.S. and played in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Shibahara, 22, was born in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area and starred at UCLA. 
   Guarachi and Krawczyk — former standouts at Alabama and Arizona State, respectively — were coming off a straight-set victory over top-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic.
   Krawczyk won the doubles title in the 2017 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger with Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the Bay Area who plays for Mexico.
   In the third round of boys singles, seventh-seeded Dominic Stephan Stricker of Switzerland beat ninth-seeded Arthur Fery, a Stanford freshman from Great Britain, 6-4, 6-3.
   Fery and compatriot Felix Gill outplayed Dev Javia of India and Li Hanwen of China 7-5, 6-2 in the second round of doubles.

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