2024 Berlin Ladies Open WTA Semifinals Round-Up: Kalinskaya reaches final, awaits winner of Gauff-Pegula clash

Saturday, 22 June 2024 at 21:53
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In a week marked by rain, the Berlin Ladies Open concluded its quarterfinal matches on Saturday and played the semifinals, again interrupted by rain, this time during the match between Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, which will finish on Sunday in the first session.
Earlier, Anna Kalinskaya reached her second final as a professional after defeating Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals. The Russian had some luck along the way, benefiting from withdrawals by Marketa Vondrousova and Aryna Sabalenka, while awaiting the second finalist of the tournament.

Strange quarterfinals

The world No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka could barely play 6 games in an erratic performance before retiring when trailing 1-5. Although both defended their serves at the start of the set, problems began for Sabalenka, who only won the first game of the match. This led to a streak of four games in favor of Kalinskaya, including breaks in the third and fifth games.
Once the second break against Sabalenka was confirmed, the Belarusian sought medical assistance for her neck and shoulder area. With the score at 1-5, she confirmed her retirement from the match, marking the first time the two-time Grand Slam champion has retired from a match in her career.
Just nine days before the start of Wimbledon, doubts arise about Sabalenka's presence at the All England Club, although there is still no official information regarding her injury. A similar situation was experienced by No. 10 Ons Jabeur, who completed only one set in her match against Coco Gauff before retiring due to illness.
In an intense encounter between Gauff and Jabeur, both saved several break points throughout the set to maintain parity. In the 10th game, Gauff had six set points on her opponent's serve, but the Tunisian managed to come through. In a tie-break decided by details, both had set points, but Gauff sealed the set 7-6(10-8).
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Ons Jabeur was forced to retire through illness after the first set.

Kalinskaya returns to a final

The Russian tennis player had a fortunate path to the semifinals. Kalinskaya began with a three-set victory over Nao Hibino, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the second round, she faced 2023 Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, who retired due to physical discomfort with the first set tied at 5-5. Then in the quarterfinals, she took advantage of Aryna Sabalenka's retirement at 5-1 to advance to the semifinals and meet Victoria Azarenka.
The former world No. 1 also advanced after Elena Rybakina retired after just four games, resulting in Kalinskaya spending only a few minutes on court in the previous round.
The match started favoring Kalinskaya, who took two consecutive breaks and had no issues with her serve to lead 5-0 in just 20 minutes. The Russian won 68% of points played on her serve and capitalized on Azarenka's second serves, winning 80% of them to take the set 6-1.
The second part was much closer, though Azarenka performed better on the return. After creating a couple of opportunities, Azarenka broke in the 4th game and later led 5-2. Despite Azarenka having chances to comfortably take the set, Kalinskaya recovered the break in the 9th game and extended the set to a tie-break, where Azarenka asserted her authority to level the match 7-6(7-3).
In the third set, Kalinskaya elevated her game with her serve, landing 74% of first serves and winning 76% of them. The world No. 24 capitalized on the frequent break opportunities she created throughout the set and secured two consecutive breaks in the 4th and 6th games. With this, Kalinskaya closed out the match 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-1 in 2 hours and 13 minutes, as she seeks her first professional title after losing in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to Jasmine Paolini.
Kallinskaya will play her second final of the season.

Pegula on the brink of victory before rain suspension

Rain has undoubtedly been a protagonist in Berlin this week. The constant interruptions due to rain repeated in the semifinal between the top-ranked Americans currently: Coco Gauff (No. 2) and Jessica Pegula (No. 5).
In the first set, Pegula led 5-3 after securing the first break in the 7th game. However, she couldn't close out the set with her serve, while Gauff leveled at 5-5. In moments of high tension, Pegula got another break and this time managed to close the set 7-5. Both players were inaccurate, with Pegula slightly better in crucial moments despite both having a first serve percentage of only 54%.
In the second set, Gauff regained her momentum and broke in the 4th game to take a 5-2 lead. The 2023 US Open champion was ahead, but couldn't maintain composure to close out the set when she had the chance. Pegula recovered the break, and the match went to a tie-break, where the 30-year-old had a mini-break in her favor, leading 3-1.
Unfortunately, the match was interrupted by rain, and the organizers decided to resume on Sunday in the first session of the day. The winner will face Anna Kalinskaya in search of a title ahead of Wimbledon.

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