WTA Hobart: Bencic tops Yastremska. Kenin and Cornet march on


WTA Hobart: Bencic tops Yastremska. Kenin and Cornet march on

In the battle of the youngsters with a similar ranking, Belinda Bencic defeated Dayana Yastremska 7-6, 6-3 in an hour and 20 minutes for the place in the semis, toppling the upcoming Ukrainian for the third time in four matches.

The Swiss played better on both the first and second serve but they both created eight break chances, staying neck and neck in the opener before Bencic secured the win with a strong performance in the closing stages of set number two.

Belinda kicked off the match with two breaks for a 4-1 lead before Dayana strat to climb back, winning four games in a row to erase the deficit and forge a 5-4 advantage. Belinda saved two set points in the following games and she grabbed the breaker 7-2, gaining the momentum before the rest of the encounter.

Out of sudden, Yastremska won the opening eight points in set number two for an early lead but Belinda pulled it back at 1-2, settling into a nice rhythm and barely losing a point on serve by the end of the match. Waiting for a chance on the return patiently, she broke a teenager at 4-3 before sealing the deal with a hold at love a few minutes later to secure the spot in the semis.

The 6th seed Alize Cornet needed just an hour and 17 minutes to dismiss the Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-4, losing serve twice but scoring five breaks from eight opportunities to march into the last four and preserve energy for the next clash.

Ranked 346th, Minnen produced a little miracle by reaching the quarters but she had nothing left in the tank for Cornet, losing serve thrice in the opening set and twice more in set number two to find herself 6-1, 5-2 down.

Serving for the match in the eighth game, Alize got broken at love but there were no mistakes next time around she served, clinching the win in the 10th game and staying on the title course. The 20-year-old Sofia Kenin earned the semi-final berth following a 7-5, 7-5 win over the 7th seed Kirsten Flipkens in an hour and 41 minutes.

The youngster served well and she played against only three break points, losing serve twice but creating 12 chances on the return and converting four to emerge as a winner. Sofia made an instant break in the opening game of the match but she stayed ahead only for three games, suffering a break at 2-1 to bring Flipkens back on the positive side of the scoreboard.

The Belgian saved three break points in the 9th game but Kenin had the upper hand in the rallies in those moments, jumping into a 6-5 lead and closing the opener with a hold at 30 a few minutes later. The second set followed a similar pattern, Kenin had an early break before Kirsten pulled it back in the sixth game, staying in contention before the American broke her at 5-5 to clinch the win with a hold at love in the game that followed and move closer to her first singles title just a week after she won the ASB Classic in Auckland in doubles. Quarter-final results:

Sofia Kenin (USA) vs [7]Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7-5 7-5
[6]Alize Cornet (FRA) vs [Q]Greet Minnen (BEL) 6-1 6-4
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) 7-5 7-5
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs Dayana Yastremska (UKR) 7-6(2) 6-3
WTA Hobart