Berlin | Only Azarenka advances as Rybakina retires ill

The WTA 500 ecotrans Ladies Open in Berlin continues to be dogged by rain, which washed out the quarter-finals on Friday, when the only player to advance was Victoria Azarenka after her opponent Elena Rybakina retired after only 4 games of play.

The No 3 seed from Kazakhstan looked unwell and was struggling with her game when, at 1-3, 15-15, she called for an off-court medical timeout.

After a while, the Belarusian and fans in the stadium were told that Rybakina had had to retire from the match because of illness. Later this was attributed to abdominal pain by the WTA.

Azarenka and Rybakina had played 4 times before, and the Russian-born Kazakh had won on every occasion.

Rybakina, unfortunately, has endured a number of illnesses, both this season and in the past, and this latest health issue could put her participation at Wimbledon in question, which starts in 10 days time, and where she won the title in 2022., putting

Meanwhile, former World No 1 Azarenka moves into the semi-final where she will play either her compatriot Aryna Sabalenka, the 2nd seed, or Anna Kalinskaya from Russia, who also arrived in the quarters via a retirement by the reigning Wimbledon champion, Marketa Vondrousova, after the Czech took a nasty fall and injured her right hip, putting her title defence in jeopardy.


The quarter-final between Jessica Pegula and Katerina Siniakova was suspended after rain set in on Friday

© Inaki Esnaola/Getty Images

Jessica Pegula, the No 4 seed from the USA, did get onto court and led Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6(2) 3-6, 4-2 in the 2nd quarter-final of the day before the rain set in, and eventually halted play for the day.

Pegula, bidding for the first grass-court semi-final of her career, was pulling away from Siniakova after slipping while jumping up for a lob in the first game of the decider, and although the Czech former World Doubles No 1 was able to resume, she lost 10 of the next 11 points to go down 3-0 before taking an off-court medical timeout.


Umpire Pierre Bacchi checks on Katerina Siniakova, who slipped while going for a smash in the deciding set against Jessica Pegula

© Inaki Esnaola/Getty Images

The remaining two Last 8 matches featuring top seeded American Coco Gauff against Ons Jabeur, the 8th seed from Tunisia, and Sabalenka against Kalinskaya did not get on court.

Saturday’s order of play starts at 11.30am, with Gauff and Jabeur starting on Steffi Graf Stadion, while Sabalenka and Kalinskaya play concurrently on Court 1.

Pegula and Siniakova will resume after Gauff and Jabeur, followed by the two semi-finals: Azarenka against either Sabalenka or Kalinskaya, then the Gauff/Jabeur winner against the Pegula/Siniakova winner.




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