We now know our semifinalists from both the women’s and men’s draws at the Aegon Open following a busy day of action at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. Here is a complete roundup of all the singles results on day five.
* Article originally published by me for UBITennis.net *
In the opening quarterfinal of the day Johanna Konta kept her strong run going on home soil with another straight sets win this time over Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 7-5. The top seed’s depth with her groundstrokes in tricky conditions gave her a good start against her Australian opponent, with two breaks of serve helping her take the first set. The world number eight went down a break early in the second set but rallied back and despite having two match points in the 10th game and managed to hang in and secure victory in the 12th. The Brit is looking in great form and is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
The top seed will now face Magdalena Rybarikova in Saturday’s semifinal after she saw off qualifier Kristie Ahn comfortably 6-4, 6-1. Ahn was playing just the eleventh match of her entire career on grass and had not played on the surface until this year. Despite hanging with her opponent for the opening eight games she only won one game thereafter. Rybarikova gained the break and served out the set but fell down a break immediately in the second. The Slovakian responded swiftly to win five games in a row to have the chance to serve for the match. The American had three break back points to keep her slim hopes alive, but Rybarikova did not let her off the hook and wrapped up victory in one hour and 18 minutes.
Lucie Safarova won the best women’s quarterfinal of the day taking down Tsvetana Pironkova in three sets 6-3, 0-6, 6-4. The fifth seed was far the better player in the opening set and broke the Bulgarian’s serve twice to make the perfect start. It was a complete role reversal in the second set and at the beginning of the decider as Pironkova took eight games in a row to go favourite to win the match. Safarova showed her class and fought back brilliantly to take a 4-2 lead in the final set and resisted a comeback from her opponent in the latter stages to advance to the last four.
Lying in wait for her is 20-year-old Donna Vekic after she reached her first semifinal of the year, defeating Maria Sakkari in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. The Croatian made a really fast start in this quarterfinal and raced into a 5-0 lead against her opponent who appeared to be struggling physically. Sakkari hit back and capitalised on a dip in play from the world number 70, but could only take back two games before the former Birmingham finalist secured the opening set. The Greek made the better start in the second set, taking a 2-0 lead, but her higher-ranked opponent hit back to level and then saved a break point to move ahead 3-2. Vekic broke Sakkari once more in the eighth game and closed out the match on her own serve on her third match point.
Second seed Marius Copil has dealt with the pressure of being the highest ranked player in the draw well this week and continued to impress following his straight sets win over Bjorn Fratangelo 7-6(5), 6-4. The Romanian was not broken throughout the match, firing down 13 aces and winning 83% of points behind his first serve on his way to victory.
Third seed Dudi Sela broke British hearts in the final match of the day after he dismissed Lloyd Glasspool 6-2, 7-6(4). Sela took command early on with an immediate break of serve but the Brit had his chances with break point opportunities when down 2-0 and 3-1. Glasspool was unable to capitalise and was punished after being broken again when serving to stay in the set. It was the wildcard who got off to a better start in the second set, breaking in the fifth game but that advantage only lasted one game. Glasspool broke again and served for the set at 5-4, even earning a set point but could not take advantage. Sela came back strongly to secure the win in the tiebreak.
Fourth seed Thomas Fabbiano recovered from a set down to seal a semifinal place, defeating Sergiy Stakhovsky 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) in a match which lasted just shy of two hours. In a match which went all the way the Ukrainian hit an amazing 25 aces but still ended up on the losing side against the Italian. What proved to be Stakhovsky’s downfall was his percentage of points won behind his second serve, down at just 38%. Making 79% of his first serves was enough to help Fabbiano get over the line and reach the last four.
Sam Groth is still going strong in Nottingham with his latest victory coming over compatriot John-Patrick Smith 7-6(6), 6-2. Having come through qualifying, Groth only lost two points behind his first serve all match and only faced the one break point which he saved to secure victory in one hour and 16 minutes.
Looking Ahead To Day Six
It will be semifinals day and the action is not to be missed in Nottingham! All four semifinals take place on Centre Court tomorrow starting with Groth v Fabbiano, followed by the women’s semifinals finishing with the men’s doubles final.
It is also worth mentioning that four Brits are still involved in the women’s doubles. The all British pairing of Laura Robson and Jocelyn Rae open up against Heather Watson and her partner Christina Mchale. That match on Court 1 will be followed by Konta and her partner Yanina Wickmayer taking on Monique Adamczak and Storm Sanders from Australia.