The WTA Premier event in Adelaide is reaching its final stage, with the first two quarter-finals taking place on Thursday morning at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre. The 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska took down Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and eight minutes, advancing to her first semi-final at this level and moving on the verge of the top-20.
It was their third clash and the third victory for the Ukrainian who hit 23 winners and delivered rock-solid numbers behind the initial shot to face only one break point. Vekic converted that one but it wasn't enough to keep her in contention for longer, struggling on the second serve and getting broken three times from five chances offered to Dayana.
A teenager held at love with an ace in the first game and broke the Croat on the third chance in game two following a deep return that Donna couldn't control. Vekic pulled the break back in the next game and they both served well until 5-4 for Yastremska who broke at 15 thanks to a forehand error from Vekic, taking the opener 6-4 after 35 minutes and gathering momentum ahead of set number two.
Dropping only seven points in five service games there, Dayana kept the pressure on Donna and grabbed a break in the eighth game, sealing the deal with a volley winner in the next game for the place in the semi-final. There, Dayana will face another hard-hitting player Aryna Sabalenka who took down world no.
4 Simona Halep 6-4, 6-2 in 69 minutes, beating the Romanian for the first time in a career. The Belarusian hit 30 winners and ten unforced errors, leaving Halep on only 12 winners and six unforced mistakes, not enough to challenge for the victory.
Sabalenka did lose serve three times but that wasn't the problem after taking 56% of the return points, taming Halep's serve completely to grab six breaks, despite the fact Wimbledon champion served at 71%. Aryna netted a forehand to suffer a break in the first game, pulling it back straight away in the next game with a backhand winner.
A forehand drive-volley winner pushed Sabalenka 4-2 in front, getting broken in the very next game and wasting two more chances on the return in game eight. Still, she broke Simona in the tenth game with a forehand return winner, taking the opener in 41 minutes and looking for more of the same in set number two.
There was only one player on the court in set number two, with Sabalenka moving 2-0 up following a forehand error from Halep and towards the finish line with another break in the fourth game. Simona pulled one break back in game seven before Aryna secured the victory with another forehand return winner a few minutes later.