WTA San Jose: Sakkari edges Svitolina. Sabalenka and Vekic reach semis


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WTA San Jose: Sakkari edges Svitolina. Sabalenka and Vekic reach semis

A few weeks after their Wimbledon clash, Elina Svitolina and Maria Sakkari were engaged in another great battle, with the Greek prevailing 1-6, 7-6, 6-3 in two hours and 23 minutes for the third semi-final of the season. Elina had the win in her hands, leading 6-1, 5-2 before Maria started to climb back, saving four match points in games nine and ten to survive and level the score at 5-5.

They traded breaks at love in games 11 and 12 to set up a tie break that Sakkari won 7-3, delivering four great holds in the decider and securing a remarkable win with a break in game six that pushed her over the finish line in what was one of the most impressive triumphs of her young career.

Saisai Zheng needed almost three hours to overpower the 4th seed Amanda Anisimova 5-7, 7-5, 6-4 for the first semi-final since Washington last year. The young American won three points more overall but not the most important ones, suffering nine breaks and delivering eight on the other side to end her run in the quarters.

From 3-1 down in the opener, Anisimova took the next four games, wasting two set points on serve at 5-3 before winning eight of the last nine points for a 7-5. The second set kicked off with four straight breaks and this time it was the Chinese player who had the edge in the closing stages, delivering breaks in games nine and 11 and fending off a break point while serving for the set in the next game for a 7-5 and the deciding set.

There, Anisimova came back from a 4-2 down, getting broken again at 4-4 and squandering a couple of break chances in game ten to propel Zheng into the last four. The 5th seed Donna Vekic is through to the fifth semi-final in 2019, defeating a qualifier Kristie Ahn 7-5, 6-0 in an hour and 25 minutes.

The Croat lost just nine points on serve, suffering an early break to fall 5-3 down before shifting into a higher gear to claim the next ten games and march towards the finish line once she stole the opening set. The 2nd seed Aryna Sabalenka took down Carla Suarez Navarro 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 53 minutes, bouncing back after a slow start and breaking her rival five times in sets two and three for the fourth semi-final in 2019 that hasn't been the best one for her so far.