Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit, the top two seeds at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy reached the semi-finals on Friday. Sakkari, who’s seeded no. 1 this week, defeated eighth seed Elise Mertens in their quarter-final clash, 7-6(7), 6-2.
The Greek needed two hours and seven minutes to wrap up the win. At the start of the match, it was Mertens who gained the upper hand in the proceedings as she broke Sakkari. The Belgian also had chances to go up a double break against the world no.
7 in the seventh game but the latter thwarted her and held on, keeping the deficit to a single break. A break back in the eighth game allowed Sakkari to bring the set on par while a consolidation helped her to go up 5-4. With Mertens serving to stay in the set, Sakkari had two set points but this time it was the Belgian’s turn to save them.
The 11th game of the set saw Sakkari lose her serve once again and Mertens had a chance to close it out on her serve but she wasn’t able to, thereby sending the set into the tie-break. The tie-break was a topsy-turvy affair once again with Mertens unable to make good of any of the three set points that came her way and Sakkari converted on her third set point to take the lead in the match.
As compared to the first set, Sakkari dominated the second set. The Greek built a 5-0 lead and even had a match point on her serve in the sixth game. However, Mertens broke back and then consolidated the break for her first service hold of the set.
Serving for the match the second time, Sakkari came from 0-40 down to grab the win on her fourth match point.
St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy: The penultimate round's set
This is Sakkari’s first semi-final this year and the second in the tournament.
Previously, she’d reached the semis in 2020. For a place in the final, Sakkari will play Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu. Begu ousted Tereza Martincova 6-4, 6-2 in their quarter-final in an hour and 25 minutes. In the bottom half of the St.
Petersburg Ladies Trophy, the second-seeded Kontaveit moved past fifth seed Belinda Bencic to reach the semi-finals. Kontaveit won 7-6(7), 6-2 in an hour and 42 minutes. This win marked Kontaveit’s 18th consecutive victory indoors.
Seeking her 19th victory and a place in the final, the Estonian will play seventh seed Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian needed two hours and 27 minutes to end the run of Aliaksandra Sasnovich, claiming a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 win in the process.