WTA Roundup: Last 4 line-ups in Strasbourg and Rabat almost complete  

Danielle Collins, Liudmila Samsonova and Madison Keys dodged the rain on Thursday as they all cruised into the Internationaux de Strasbourg semi-finals, leaving Marketa Vondrousova and Anhelina Kalinina’s quarter-final to be played on Friday.

I’m feeling really good so far with my clay season. Having missed the beginning of the season, I was really wanting to have a couple of wins in a row, just to feel like I’ve got a grip on my year, and so far, so good. Madison Keys

Samsonova, the 5th seed from Russia, kicked off the day by upsetting 2nd-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-3 6-0, after 1 hour and 29 minutes of play, the Brazilian looking somewhat out of sorts in the heavy conditions.

In the first meeting between two heavy hitters, Samsonova broke the World No 14 in the opening game of the match, and although Haddad Maia garnered 3 break points in a lengthy 4-3 game, and nearly got back on serve, the Russian was able to hold on for 5-3, which proved to be the breaking point.

Samsonova, ranked 19, won the last 8 games of the match to prevail, never dropping serve and going 5-for-7 on break points.

In her tournament debut, Strasbourg is helping to kick-start Samsonova’s season as she reaches only her second semi-final of the season, after Abu Dhabi, and she is still just 8-11 on the year.

As for Haddad Maia, the Brazilian suffered her worst defeat in over a year, just before defending her semi-final points at the French Open.

Madison Keys is one of two Americans to make the semi-finals at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, the other is Danielle Collins

© Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Keys followed with an impressive dismissal of 50th-ranked Magda Linette from Poland, 6-1 6-3, in a quarter-final interrupted by rain that took just 69 minutes of actual play.

The American No 4 seed, who is ranked 16, was never broken in the match, and she fired 24 winners, tripling Linette’s 8.

After missing the first 2 months of the season to rehab her shoulder, Keys has caught fire on the red clay of Europe, going 9-2 in this swing and making 3 straight quarter-finals or better.

The only player to beat Keys during this year’s European red-clay stretch is World No 1 Iga Swiatek, who ended her runs in the Madrid semi-finals and the Rome quarter-finals, and then went on to win both titles.

“I’m feeling really good so far with my clay season,” Keys said afterwards. “Having missed the beginning of the season, I was really wanting to have a couple of wins in a row, just to feel like I’ve got a grip on my year, and so far, so good.”

Barring any additional weather delays, Keys will play Samsonova in Friday’s semi-finals of the WTA 500 clay-court event, with the American leading their head-to-head 3-1, including a 6-2 6-3 win on the clay of Madrid mere weeks ago.

Danielle Collins saw off the last Frenchwoman, Clara Burel, in Strasbourg on Thursday and awaits the winner of the 4th quarter-final, postponed due to rain

© Johannes Simon/Getty Images

The No 3 seed, Collins, was the day’s last winner, getting past Clara Burel, the sole remaining French player in the singles draw, 6-1 6-3, a win that will send the American, a former World No 7, back into the Top 10 in Monday’s updated rankings.

Playing in her announced final season on tour, the current World No 12 has been nearly unstoppable this spring as she charges back towards the Top 10.

Burel is sitting at a career-high ranking of 43, and she knocked out defending champion Elina Svitolina from Ukraine on Wednesday, but was denied a second consecutive Top 20 win by the red-hot play of Collins.

Collins has won 21 of her last 23 matches, with back-to-back titles in Miami and Charleston followed by runs to the Madrid Round of 16 and the Rome semi-finals.

In fact, she has only lost to World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka during this stretch of fierce form.

On Thursday, Collins was dominant from start to nearly the finish, but she faltered when serving for the match at 6-1, 5-2 as Burel broke for the first time.

The American’s returns, though, proved too daunting in the next game, and Burel lost serve to cede the win to Collins.

Maintaining a 67% first serve success rate, Collins won 75% of those points, demonstrating her consistent play over the past few months, while she was also impressive on return, winning 55% of return points, and appeared comfortable on slow courts.

The fourth quarter-final, between top seed Marketa Vondrousova from Czech Republic and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, was postponed until Friday morning, with the winner of that match coming back later in the day to face Collins in the semi-finals.

Peyton Stearns came from behind and saved match points to upset the No 4 seed and defending champion Lucia Bronzetti in 3 tight sets

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Thursday provided upsets in the Grand Prix Son Altesse Royale La Princesse Lalla Meryem quarter-finals in Rabat, with Sara Sorribes Tormo and Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the last 2 seeds standing going out alongside the defending champion, Lucia Bronzetti.

In the first match of the day, Viktoriya Tomova from Bulgaria defeated Germany’s Laura Siegemund, 6-4 6-3, in 5 minutes short of the 2 hour mark to reach her first tour-level semi-final since Belgrade in 2021, and only the 3rd of her career overall.

In the next quarter-final, American Peyton Stearns came from 5-0 down in the 3rd set, saving 2 match points at 5-0 and 5-4, to upset the No 4 seed and defending champion Lucia Bronzetti from Italy, 6-4 4-6 7-5, after 2 hours and 45 minutes of play.

The win advances Stearns to her second career tour-level semi-final where she meets Tomova on Friday.

In Rabat, Mayar Sherif upset 3rd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo to reach her first tour-level semi-final since Palermo 2023.

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

In another big upset, Mayar Sherif from Egypt took down Sara Sorribes Tormo, the No 3 seed from Spain, 6-3 6-3, after an hour and 37 minute tussle, and she reaches her first tour-level semi-final since Palermo 2023.

In the last contest of the day, Kamilla Rakhimova got to play a complete match after advancing by way of 2 prior retirements to the quarters, and she celebrated by defeating Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the Italian 7th seed, 7-5 7-5, in an hour and 51 minutes.

The pair were playing for the first time since their junior days, when Cocciaretto won both their meetings.

The win takes Rakhimova to her second WTA semi-final of the year, her 4th overall and 1st outside of Bogota, and she now will play Sherif for a place in the Rabat final.



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