Gippsland Trophy; Ekaterina Alexandrova ousts Simona Halep; Naomi Osaka reaches SF

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Gippsland Trophy; Ekaterina Alexandrova ousts Simona Halep; Naomi Osaka reaches SF

Naomi Osaka is the highest seed left in the Gippsland Trophy. The second seed from Japan reached the semi-final of the tournament in Melbourne after a quarter-final win over Irina-Camelia Begu. Osaka won in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

The world no. 3 finished with 22 winners and 11 unforced errors and won 63 points for the match. Begu’s had 11 winners and 22 unforced errors and finished with 45 points for the match. Speaking on-court, after her win, Osaka said, “My opponent today, she was really tricky for me.

I’ve never played her before, so just to be able to not have to play that 10-point tiebreaker, for me, I’m really relieved. I feel like it’s more interesting that it’s different. If I were to come out and for every day to be the same, I’m the type that gets bored, so a new challenge every day is definitely more interesting”.

Osaka will play seventh seed, Elise Mertens, in the penultimate round. The Belgian scored the second upset of the day with a 6-3, 5-7, 10-6 win over third-seeded Elina Svitolina.

Gippsland Trophy: Simona Halep crashes out

The first, and the biggest, upset of the day came courtesy of Ekaterina Alexandrova.

The ninth seed ousted the top seed Simona Halep in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in their quarter-final clash. Halep went up 2-0 in the initial moments of the match but soon found herself struggling with a back problem. It also didn’t help her that her opponent played freely from across the net to wrap up the match in merely 60 minutes.

Talking about the win, Alexandrova said, “Playing semi-finals tomorrow, it'll be just great for me. I just tried to play my best. I was kind of nervous at the start because this court isn't my lucky one, but after two games, I won one game and I felt much better”.

Alexandrova will play Kaia Kanepi in the semi-final. The Estonian received a walkover into the second-last round of the Gippsland Trophy when her opponent, the eighth-seeded Karolina Muchova withdrew ahead of her match due to left abdominal injury.