WTA Lugano: Pliskova, Swiatek, Ferro and Hercog reach semi-final


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WTA Lugano: Pliskova, Swiatek, Ferro and Hercog reach semi-final

World no. 101 Kristyna Pliskova has reached the first WTA semi-final since Prague 2017, defeating a former world no. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and five minutes. It was a match with 30 break points up for grabs and the Czech saved 12 out of 16 to cross the finish line first, scoring five breaks from 14 opportunities on the other hand and prevailing with a great performance in the last three games.

The opening set offered 20 break points alone and it was Kuznetsova who delivered three breaks for a 6-4, wasting three set points on the return at 5-3 before sealing it on own serve in the next game after defending a break point.

The second set was much more fluid, with Pliskova sailing through her service games and breaking Svetlana in game four to control the result, holding at 30 in game nine for a 6-3 and to set a decider. They traded breaks in games three and eight in set number three and the Czech shined when it mattered the most, taking 12 of the last 14 points at 4-5 to grab the last three games and book the place in the semis.

The 17-year-old Pole Iga Swiatek is through to the first WTA semi-final, ousting the 8th seed Vera Lapko 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and four minutes, losing serve five times but creating plenty of opportunities on the return that secured the win for her.

Lapko had to play against 19 break chances, falling on seven of those to send the younger player through after not being able to match her pace in the decider. Vera was under all kind of pressure in the opener and she dealt with it perfectly, repelling ten out of 11 break points (ten of those in games eight and ten) and breaking Iga twice for a 6-4.

A teenager grabbed the last two games at 4-4 in set number two and the momentum was on her side now, scoring three straight breaks in the deciding set (four overall) to book the place in the last four. Polona Hercog marched towards the best result since last July with a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Veronika Kudermetova in an hour and 26 minutes.

Both players struggled to find the first serve and it was the Slovenian who drew the most from it, losing serve twice and stealing 55% of the return points to deliver five breaks from 13 chances earned. Kudermetova was 4-3 up in the first set when Polona shifted into a higher gear, rattling off nine of the next ten games and breaking the Russian five times in a row to race towards the finish line.

The 22-year-old Fiona Ferro advanced into the first WTA semi-final with a tight 7-5, 7-6 victory over Stefanie Voegele in an hour and 54 minutes, repelling eight out of 11 break points and prevailing in the closing stage of both sets to seal the deal in straights.

Trailing 5-4 in the opener, Fiona took three games in a row with a double break, coming from a break down in set number two to reach the tie break that she won 7-5 for the best result on the Tour so far.