A “helpless” Iga Swiatek was left in tears after Jessica Pegula stunned the World No.1 on Friday with Greece’s sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari also crashing to defeat in the semi-finals of the inaugural United Cup. Less than two weeks before the Australian Open, Poland’s Swiatek had no answers to the American’s powerful serve and searing returns, crashing 6-2, 6-2 in a deflating 71-minute defeat in Sydney.
A perfect match
“She played I think a perfect match, and it was pretty hard for me to find any spot where I could come back, because she really didn’t let me do that,” said Swiatek. “I just knew that I felt kind of helpless today, because physically and mentally I wasn’t able to kind of show up even, and problem-solve,” she added of why the tears came.
Tiafoe beats Zuk
“So it’s always hard when you lose, especially when you’re playing for the team and your country. So I was just sad. But, you know, it’s not the first time I cried after a lost match.” Men’s World No.19 Frances Tiafoe then put the United States on the cusp of Sunday’s final when he swept past Kacper Zuk 6-3, 6-3.
Tiafoe was initially supposed to play Daniel Michalski, but he pulled out with illness. Italy took an early advantage in their semi-final against Greece, with a fired-up Martina Trevisan upsetting Sakkari 6-3, 6-7(4/7), 7-5 in a gruelling 3hr 14min epic. “Oh my god, it was a great battle today, I’m really, really happy,” said the 27th-ranked Italian who clocked one of the biggest wins of her career.
“My team was incredible, they gave me a lot of energy. It was amazing.” “My level is pretty high, it has been for a while now,” said Tiafoe. “I believe I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life, I’m just having fun out there on court.”
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Djoko sets up SF with Medvedev
Top seed Novak Djokovic battled past dangerous Canadian Denis Shapovalov with a high-octane performance Friday to set up an Adelaide International semi-final with former world number one Daniil Medvedev.
The Serbian, bidding for a 92nd career title in preparation for the Australian Open this month, overcame early wobbles before hitting his stride to win 6-3, 6-4. He now meets Medvedev, who proved too strong for compatriot Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3.
Women’s top seed Ons Jabeur went 3-0 behind in the first set against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, but rallied to win 7-6 (7/5), 7-5. The Tunisian will take on rising Czech teen Linda Noskova for a place in the final after she outlasted veteran Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-7(3/7), 7-6(8/6).
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