Cleveland | Zhu takes out Garcia, as Alexandrova, Sorribes Tormo and Maria make Last 4

Caroline Garcia’s hopes of a deep run at the Tennis In The Land WTA 250 in Cleveland, Ohio, were brought to an abrupt halt when the top-seeded wild-card was soundly beaten by China’s Lin Zhu, 6-4 6-1, in the quarter-finals, while Ekaterina Alexandrova, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Tatjana Maria all advanced to the Last 4 on Thursday.

I'm very proud of my performance today because Caroline is an amazing player. She always hits a big serve, and I have to be ready, and be more patient, and stay in the game against her. Lin Zhu

Alexandrova, the 4th seed from Russia, was a 5-7 6-0 7-5 winner over another Chinese, Xinyu Wang, and the last seed standing in the singles draw now will face Zhu on Friday for a place in the final.

In the other semi-final, Spain’s Sorribes Tormo will meet Tatjana Maria from Germany.

The tournament was affected by multiple rain delays for the second straight day, forcing 9th-seeded Sloane Stephens to play two matches in an 8-hour span, and the American lost the second to Sorribes Tormo, 6-1 6-3, while Maria beat Leylah Fernandez from Canada, 6-3 6-2.

Zhu upset Garcia in an hour and 25 minutes of play, and, although the Frenchwoman put in 70% of her first serves compared to her opponent’s 62%, the Chinese was more effective in winning 64% of her first deliveries, while the World No 7 only managed to take 54% of her’s.

Garcia also struggled with her second serve, winning just 8 of the 20 points played off this, while Zhu won 13 of the 22 points played on her second delivery.

Zhu lost her serve only once in the match, and saved 4 break points in total as she converted on 5 of the 10 break points that came her way, and, for the match, the Chinese took 14 more points than Garcia’s 56.

This is the 4th tournament this season that Zhu has reached the semi-final at WTA Tour level, having made the final of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin where she went on to win her maiden career title.

Zhu, ranked No 48 in the world, has not lost a set through 3 rounds in Cleveland.

“I’m very proud of my performance today because Caroline is an amazing player,” Zhu said. “She always hits a big serve, and I have to be ready, and be more patient, and stay in the game against her.”

Zhu will face Alexandrova, who won her encounter with Wang by the skin of her teeth after a topsy-turvy affair that last an hour and 56 minutes, coming from a set down to claim the win.

Lucky loser Sara Sorribes Tormo garnered her first win over Sloane Stephens in their 3 career meetings to advance to the Last 4 at the Tennis in the Land in Cleveland

On Thursday, Stephens also fell in the quarters, having had to play to two matches because of rain.

Firstly, Stephens made it into the quarters after completing a 6-3 6-3 win over 16-year Mirra Andreeva, the precocious Russian, in their 2nd-round contest in which the American was in impeccable form.

Andreeva, ranked 67 in the world, decided to skip Canada and Cincinnati, and only played at the Lausanne Open on clay and this was only her second professional tournament on hard courts.

In her Cleveland debut, the young Russian defeated Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, 6-0 3-6 7-5, to set up her meeting with Stephens, the experienced 2017 US Open champion, who did not concede any breaks, and saved all 3 break opportunities that Andreeva had, while the American converted 4 out of her 10 break points to secure the match, which began on Wednesday night.

Rain cause it to be suspended overnight with the score standing at 6-3, 3-0 in favour of Stephens, and, when it resumed on Thursday, Andreeva showed some resistance to extend the match, but the American maintained her lead and emerged victorious after an hour and 15 minutes of playing time.

Having had little trouble closing out that match, Stephens was unable to find the same form against lucky loser Sorribes Tormo, and the Spaniard notched up her win to advance after 73 minutes.

Sorribes Tormo is making the most of her second chance at this event, having scored wins over Czech Katerina Siniakova, 6-3, 4-0, RET, and the 3rd-seeded Veronika Kudermetova from Russia, 6-4 6-1.

Her opponent in the Cleveland Open semi-finals is Maria, who needed an hour and 23 minutes to wrap up her straight sets win over Fernandez in their quarter-final clash.

The Canadian failed to fire an ace and made 2 double-faults in the match, while she won just 51.3% of her first-serve points and broke on 2 of her 4 chances, but Maria took 76.9% of her first-serve points and broke on 5 of her 7 opportunities, while the German also fired 2 aces to her single double-fault.

Fernandez will next be in action against Alexandrova in the opening round of the US Open on Monday.

Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe got past top seeds Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova to reach the Cleveland Open semi-finals on Thursday

© Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

In the doubles, Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe from New Zealand reached the semis with a 6-7(7) 7-6(4) [11-9] win over top-seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova.

Dabrowski & Routliffe move on to face Japan’s Miyu Kato & Aldila Sutjiadi, who advanced with a 3-6 6-2 10-6 win over Oksana Kalashnikova & Miriam Kolodziejova.

In the other semi-final, Taipei’s Hao-Ching Chan & Giuliana Olmos from Mexico will face American Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez from Australia, the No 2 seeds.

In the quarter-finals, Chan & Olmos defeated Japan’s Makato Ninomiya & Sabrina SantaMaria from the USA, 4-6 7-6(4) [10-3], while Melichar & Martinez-Perez advanced when Alexandrova & Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus, withdrew ahead of their quarter-final.



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