Eastbourne | Kvitova moves past Dart as Haddad Maia, Ostapenko and Giorgi advance

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is finding her stride on the grass courts of Devonshire Park at Eastbourne, as she ended the hopes of British wild-card Harriet Dart in a 6-3 6-4 win that has placed her in the semi-finals of the Rothesay International, the last WTA 500 event ahead of The Championships, which start on Monday.

I’m always trying to serve well; sometimes it’s working more, sometimes it’s not. Today I didn’t have a weak game, so it was nice to have for sure, especially at the end of the match when it’s always tough to close it out. Petra Kvitova

Her opponent in the Last 4 is Beatriz Haddad Maia, who advanced after her opponent, Lesia Tsurenko from Ukraine, gave the Brazilian a walk-over because of a right elbow injury.

Haddad Maia is on a hot streak of winning 12 consecutive matches on the grass that has landed her the titles at both Nottingham and Birmingham, and she is, no doubt, now eyeing the prospect of adding the Eastbourne crown to her growing list of accomplishments.

She will be fresh when facing Kvitova in the Last 4 on Friday morning, while the other semi-final match will be between defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and 12th-seeded Camila Giorgi, who also had straight-sets wins on Thursday.

Much attention has been focused on the women’s doubles this week, in which Serena Williams was competing in her come-back from a year away from the tour alongside Ons Jabeur, and they had successfully reached the semi-finals when the pair withdrew on Thursday because of a right knee injury sustained by the Tunisian, sending Aleksandra Krunic & Magda Linette into the final.

Beatriz Haddad Maia reached the semi-finals at Eastbourne after Lesia Tsurenko gave her a walk-over because of an elbow injury

© Stephen Pond/Getty Images for LTA

Meanwhile, Kvitova, the 14th seed, eased past Dart, the last remaining Brit in the women’s draw, in an hour and 25 minutes of play in what was the first meeting between the two.

The Czech, who won her Wimbledon titles in 2011 and 2014, was a force to be reckoned with behind her delivery, firing 8 aces and never broken, while she faced just one break point, which came in the very last game of the match.

“I’m always trying to serve well; sometimes it’s working more, sometimes it’s not,” Kvitova said afterwards. “Today I didn’t have a weak game, so it was nice to have for sure, especially at the end of the match when it’s always tough to close it out.”

The win gives Kvitova a much-needed boost as she makes it into her first semi-final on tour this season, with quarter-final showings at Miami and Dubai her previous best results for the year.

Despite the loss, the week still marks another step up for Dart, the World No 103, who posted two wins on Wednesday to reach her first WTA 500 quarter-final, having made her first tour-level Last 8 appearance just two weeks ago in Nottingham.

Making her 7th appearance in Eastbourne, Kvitova is into the Rothesay International semi-finals for just the second time in her career, having lost to Marion Bartoli in the 2011 Eastbourne final, mere weeks before she claimed her breakthrough major at Wimbledon.

Kvitova is now into her 8th career grass-court semi-final and just a pair of wins away from her 29th career singles title, 4 of which have come on grass, with two Birmingham titles accompanying her two Wimbledon trophies.

The left-handed Czech, however, was Haddad Maia’s 6th win on the grass when she beat her 7-6(4) 6-2 in the first round in Birmingham last week.

The Brazilian currently owns the longest grass-court winning streak on the Hologic WTA Tour since Serena Williams won 20 straight matches on the surface between Wimbledon in 2015 and 2018.

Amazingly, left-handed Haddad Maia also had never won a WTA title before this short grass-court season, that is going better than she could ever have imagined.

Jeļena Ostapenko is on course to defend her Eastbourne title after dispatching Anhelina Kalinina to reach the semi-finals

© Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA

In the lower half of the draw, Ostapenko dominated Anhelina Kalinina, the Ukrainian No 1, 6-3 6-2, and is glad to be hitting the ball so well.

The 25-year old Latvian, seeded 8 here and playing at Devonshire Park for the 6th time in her career, is looking to clinch back-to-back titles at Eastbourne as she faces Giorgi in her semi-final on Friday.

“I think, today, was a much better match,” she said. “I felt like I was hitting the ball well.

“It’s great to be here. This atmosphere here is amazing and the energy is good, so I’m feeling good.”

Ostapenko made a slow start to the match as Kalinina took an early 2-0 lead, but this was short-lived as the Latvian claimed back-to-back breaks in the 4th and 6th games to win 5 games in a row and move ahead 5-2.

Kalinina held onto the 8th game to end Ostapenko’s run of consecutive games, but it didn’t change much as the Latvian served out for the first set in the following game.

After losing the opener, Kalinina served out the first game of the second, but then Ostapenko went on another run as she claimed back-to-back breaks to take 5 games in a row to go up 5-1.

In the 7th game, Kalinina managed to hold her serve again, and she conjured up a break point in the next, but Ostapenko saved it before closing out the match in straight sets.

Although Kalinina’s final stat line was clean enough, with 18 winners after 13 unforced errors, Ostapenko’s power off the ground proved too much for her to handle as the Latvian struck a staggering 32 winners to just 13 unforced errors in the win, along with 8 aces.

Ostapenko, who has not lost a set in her title defence so far, said her 69-minute win over Kalinina was her best performance of the week, having won 11 of the next 13 games of the match after dropping the first two.

Next up is Giorgi as Ostapenko bids to reach her second singles final of the season after triumphing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.

She is also through to the semi-finals in doubles alongside Ukrainian Lyudmyla Kichenok, and they are seeking a second consecutive title after winning in Birmingham last week.

The pair got past Britons Dart & Heather Watson, 4-6 6-1 [10-3], late on Thursday, and will face Xu Yifan & Yang Zhaoxuan for a place in the final, after the Chinese pair upset top seeds Czech Barbora Krejcikova & Ena Shibhara from Japan, 7-5 6-4.

Camila Giorgi is in the semi-finals at Eastbourne for the second year running after seeing off lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova on Thursday

© Glyn KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Elsewhere, Giorgi eased past lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova of Bulgaria, 6-2 6-1, in just over an hour to reach the Eastbourne semi-finals for the second straight year.

Tomova, the World No 128, made it into the main draw after 2nd-seeded Jabeur withdrew from the singles draw, and she has made the most of it, the Bulgarian winning back-to-back tour-level matches for the first time this year.

She reached her first WTA 500 quarter-final by defeating Kirsten Flipkens after the Belgian had beaten her in qualifying just days before.

Tomova’s run, however, was swiftly stopped by Giorgi, ranked 26, who was commanding throughout their first meeting, firing 5 aces, winning 82 percent of points behind her first serve, and claiming two-thirds of points when returning the Bulgarian’s second serve.

With the swift win, the Italian matched her Eastbourne semi-final run last year, and is one win away from her first trip to the Rothesay International final on Saturday.

Giorgi has 3 singles titles on her resume, her first coming on grass at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2015.



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