Qatar Total Open: Ostapenko becomes first player to enter semis, Petkovic accounts for another upset

Latvian Jelena Ostapenko celebrates her victory against Chinese Saisai Zheng during their WTA Qatar Total Open quarterfinalsDoha: Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko reigned supreme in the clash of the giant killers at the $2,818,000 WTA Qatar Total Open, here on Thursday.

The 18-year old made her way past Chinese Saisai Zheng, 6-4, 6-3, to become the first player to enter the semifinals of the singles draw.

Meanwhile 8th seed Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro defeated Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina 6-3, 7-6 (3) to make it to the last four. However, Suárez’s compatriot fourth seed Garbine Muguruza was shown the door by German Andrea Petkovic accounting for another upset.

Petkovic entered the semi-finals with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win. Though the German was delighted with her victory, she lamented her lack of instincts in reading the opponents maneuvers. “I don’t know it really hurts me sometimes. On the courts you just have to go by instincts and I really don’t have any instincts at all,” she said.

Zheng loses her zing

Ostapenko and Zheng - both largely unsung, but their performance during this week at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex, didn’t just catapult them into the limelight, but will go on do wonders to their WTA rankings.

While Ostapenko demolished former French Open and US Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and World No. 8 Czech, Petra Kvitova on her way up the ladder, Zheng drubbed reigning Australian Open Champion and World No. 2 Angelique Kerber of Germany and 2014 Wimbledon finalist, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard en route to today’s encounter.

But, far from basking in the glory of her exploits, Ostapenko went for the kill from the very first game. She retained her serve in the first game, albeit with a bit of effort, but broke Zheng in the next and soon marched on to a 3-0 lead.

The 22-year old Chinese, would have started late but, she came back strongly wrap up the next four in jiffy to go up 4-3. That’s precisely when Ostapenko upped her game. She not just let the first serve points count, but also capitalised on second, no wonder the percentage shot up to 60 per cent with regards to second serve points won. The end result: three straight-game wins and the set 6-4.

Zheng tried making a comeback in the second set, but failed to match up to the power of the Latvian, who had raced to 2-0 lead. Zheng did break her in the next, but it didn’t help her cause and Ostapenko turned the tables on her with another break in the 4th game. A victory in the next ensured she was 4-1 up in the set.

Zheng did win the next two games, but again Ostapenko repeated the performance and went to clinch the set (6-3) and the match 6-4, 6-3.
Later Ostapenko summed up her feelings saying, “It was a great match today against Saisai. Both of us played good, so I enjoyed.”
“I try to stay consistent and I fight for every point.”

“During the match when I was leading in the score, then it went 3-0 to 3-All, I was a bit nervous. Then I just tried to stay consistent and play my game,” she added shedding light on the game.

About her style of play she said: “Yeah, I am aggressive player, but you can't always play aggressive. You have to stay consistent. And today against Saisai, I have to stay aggressive, otherwise I think it's difficult to win against her because she's really good in defensive.”

Photo Courtesy: Saheer

Andrea Petkovic (GER) d [4] Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) | 6 - 1 | 5 - 7 | 6 - 2 |
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) d Saisai Zheng (CHN) | 6 - 4 | 6 - 3 |
[8] Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP) d [Q] Elena Vesnina (RUS) | 6 - 3 | 7 - 6 (3) |
G Dabrowski / M Martínez Sánchez (CAN/ESP) d K Bondarenko / O Savchuk (UKR/UKR) | 7 - 6 (4) | 7 - 5 |
[4] H Chan / Y Chan (TPE/TPE) d [6] T Babos / J Goerges (HUN/GER) | 6 - 1 | 7 - 6 (6) |