WTA Istanbul: Martic edges Mladenovic in marathon. Vondrousova marches on

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WTA Istanbul: Martic edges Mladenovic in marathon. Vondrousova marches on

The 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova has stayed on the course for the second WTA title with a commanding 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Lara Arruabarrena in an hour for the place in the second semi-final of the season. Vondrousova played in the quarter-final at Indian Wells and Miami and she looks dangerous on clay as well, toppling the Spaniard after dropping just 12 points in seven service games.

Aruabarrena did manage to break once but she needed much more than that to stay competitive, serving at 74% but losing almost 60% of the points behind the initial shot to suffer six games from ten chances offered to the Czech.

Marketa was in the zone right from the start, serving well and delivering three consecutive breaks for a 6-1, charging with the same pace in set number two and sealing the deal with four straight games that propelled her into the semis.

There, she will face Barbora Strycova who ousted a teenager Elena Rybakina 0-6, 7-6, 6-0 in two hours, in what has been one of the strangest results so far in 2019. Both players scored five breaks and it was Rybakina who had the opportunity to wrap up the encounter in straight sets, being two points away from the finish line in the tie break.

She needed just 25 minutes to claim the opener and Strycova managed to hang in on the positive side of the scoreboard in set number two, taking the tie break 8-6 and marching towards the finish line from there after taking all six games in the decider for the best result of the season in singles.

In the longest match of the season so far, the 6th seed Petra Martic took down Kristina Mladenovic 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 in three hours and 17 minutes, winning just four points more than the French girl for the second semi-final in a row after Charleston.

As usual in WTA marathons like this one, there were 36 break points up for grabs and it was Mladenovic who secured eight breaks in comparison to seven for the Croat who had the edge in the pivotal moments to cross the finish line first.

Trailing 5-2 in the opening set, Kristina started to fight back and broke Martic at love ion game nine to stay in the set, saving five set points at 5-6 before losing the breaker 7-4. Petra got broken three times in set number two to push Kristina over the top and they stayed neck and neck in the decider as well before the Croat clinched the tie break 7-2 to cross the finish line first.

Margarita Gasparyan defeated a qualifier Veronika Kudermetova 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 37 minutes in the encounter with 16 breaks in total, including incredible 11 at the beginning of the match! Gasparyan took six of those and finally held at 6-5 to grab the opener, securing the last three games in set number two to advance into the semis.