Pe­tu­lant Gavrilova stut­ters into Hong Kong semis

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

HONG KONG: Daria Gavrilova reached the semi-fi­nals of the WTA Hong Kong Open for the sec­ond year in suc­ces­sion af­ter a sec­ond-set melt­down and an er­ror-strewn win against teenager Lizette Cabr­era on Fri­day.

The Aus­tralian world num­ber 22 even­tu­ally came through 6-1, 36, 6-4, but only af­ter an almighty strug­gle with her serve, a string of un­forced er­rors and her own state of mind.

There was no sign of the drama to come when the 23-year-old Russian-born Aussie nick­named Dasha raced through the first set 6-1 against her fel­low Aus­tralian ranked 155.

But the sev­enth seed grew in­creas­ingly frus­trated in a sec­ond set where she com­mit­ted 20 un­forced er­rors and started to get down on her­self.

She took out her frus­tra­tion on ev­ery­one in­clud­ing the crowd, her fa­ther and coach Alexei Gavrilov at court­side and the line judges as she un­leashed a ver­bal tirade.

And when, on los­ing the set, she threw her rac­quet at her chair in dis­gust it brought a cho­rus of boos from the nor­mally re­spect­ful cen­tre court crowd in Vic­to­ria Park.

The third set was a dour, at­tri­tional stop-start af­fair, lit­tered with dou­ble faults, chal­lenged line calls and long games taken to deuce as nei­ther player could gain any sem­blance of con­trol.

In the end Gavrilova sneaked over the line de­spite serv­ing 16 dou­ble faults and hav­ing her serve bro­ken five times in a pe­tu­lant per­for­mance.

"I have more ex­pe­ri­ence than Liz and I think that helped to­day," ad­mit­ted Gavrilova.

Her op­po­nent on Saturday will be Jen­nifer Brady who reached a WTA semi-fi­nal for the first time in her ca­reer with a 7-5, 6-4 win over fel­low Amer­i­can Ni­cole Gibbs.

"It will be a tough match. I hope I can serve bet­ter than I did to­day," said Gavrilova.

Gibbs, the world num­ber 114, had beaten Brady in both their pre­vi­ous meet­ings on tour and was serv­ing for the first set at 54 when her op­po­nent en­joyed an out­ra­geous piece of luck.

Brady slapped a re­turn into the top of the net but it some­how popped over from the net cord to give the world num­ber 70 three break-back points.

Brady lev­elled at 5-5 on the sec­ond of them to start a run of five unan­swered games as her big serve and fore­hand took con­trol and she pow­ered into a 7-5, 2-0 lead.

Gibbs did man­age to break back. But her un­der­pow­ered serve let her down again at 4-4 and Brady calmly served out to take her place in the last four. - AFP

— AFP photo

Daria Gavrilova of Aus­tralia re­turns a shot against Lizette Cabr­era of Aus­tralia dur­ing their women’s sin­gles quar­ter-fi­nal tennis match dur­ing the Hong Kong Open tour­na­ment on Oc­to­ber 13, 2017.

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