Tauson wins to set up Lyon final against Golubic

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LYON, France — Danish teenager Clara Tauson continued her remarkable form at the Lyon Open, beating seventh-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain 7-5, 6-1 to set up a first career final against fellow qualifier Viktorija Golubic.

Golubic caused another upset by beating second-seeded Fiona Ferro 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4) in the sixth career semifinal for the Swiss.

Tauson had seven aces and, although she dropped her serve twice, the 18-year-old broke Badosa’s serve five times to maintain her perfect run as the only player not to drop a set at the indoor tournament.

“I kept my nerves and my calm. I’m not thinking too much about tomorrow,” Tauson said after the first semifinal of her career. “I’m just going to go out there and have fun like I have in all the matches so far.”

The 139th-ranked Tauson is a former Australian Open junior champion. Her performance here in Lyon is even more impressive considering she came through two qualifying rounds, and then had to face top-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round.

“I think I didn’t play as good today as I did the other days, I just tried to stay in the match,” Tauson said. “Even though my level was maybe 10% less than the other days, I still felt pretty comfortable and won a lot of points.”

Tauson has practiced “a couple of times” in the past with countrywoman Caroline Wozniaki, who was ranked No. 1 in 2010 and won the Australian Open among her 30 career titles.

“We know each other … but it’s not like we’re close or anything,” Tauson said. “We come from different times (eras) in Danish tennis and she lives in the USA.”

The 28-year-old Golubic is ranked 130th and also came through two qualifying rounds here.

Ferro broke her for 6-5 and served for the match. Golubic broke back to force a tiebreaker and won on her first match point to reach her third career final and first since losing at Linz, Austria, in October 2016.

Golubic won her only career title in July that year, on home clay at Gstaad.

Linette keeps getting better; into Australian Open semis

Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
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MELBOURNE, Australia — Two days after advancing to her first Grand Slam tournament quarterfinal, unseeded Magda Linette went one better and is into the Australian Open semifinals.

The 30-year-old Linette beat Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5, adding the former No. 1 to the list of top players she has beaten at Melbourne Park during this tournament.

Linette, who had lost seven of nine previous matches against Pliskova, had defeated Anett Kontaveit, Ekaterina Alexandrova and WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in successive rounds.

A player from Poland was favored to reach the latter stages of the tournament, but it was top-seeded Iga Swiatek that everyone would have expected – and not Linette.

“It’s so emotional I can’t really believe it,” Linette said. “I tried to stay composed and took my chances when I could.”

Linette will play No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka, who beat unseeded Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 in a later quarterfinal. The women’s semifinals are scheduled for Thursday night.

Vekic, who had 13 double faults against Sabalenka, had a succinct appraisal of her serve: “I mean, it was all over the place. But I think mostly in the net.”

The other women’s semifinalists were determined on Tuesday. Two-time former Australian champion Victoria Azarenka will play Wimbledon titleholder Elena Rybakina for a chance to play in Saturday night’s final. Rybakina beat Swiatek in the fourth round.

Later Wednesday, the remaining men’s semifinalists will be determined. Unseeded Americans Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul play before nine-time champion Novak Djokovic takes on Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic will be looking to qualify for his 44th Grand Slam semifinal and a win in that match on Friday would advance him on Sunday night to his 33rd major singles final.

The other men’s semifinal on Friday will see third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas play Karen Khachanov.

Rybakina rules in Australian Open quarterfinal vs. Ostapenko

Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
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MELBOURNE, Australia – Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina advanced to the Australian Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

The match on Rod Laver Arena featured a rare rain delay of about 20 minutes while the roof was closed. Rybakina led 3-1 and was holding a break point before the delay. On return, Ostapenko saved the first break point, but Rybakina broke on her next opportunity to go up 4-1 and won the first set 6-2.

In the second set, Ostapenko was up a break but Rybakina leveled with a break of her own. It came on her first break point when Ostapenko had been unable to convert four in the previous game.

Rybakina, who beat top-seeded Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, set up match points with aces, both of which were saved by Ostapenko. But she clinched the match with another ace, her 11th of the match and a tournament-leading 35 overall.

“I was nervous in the last game, but I managed my emotions and played very well.” Rybakina said. “The conditions were different after the roof was closed. But it can happen here, you never know, on the morning one weather and later it changes.”

Rybakina will play the winner of the night quarterfinal between American Jessica Pegula, at No. 3 the highest women’s seed remaining, and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka.

In men’s quarterfinals, 22-year-old American Sebastian Korda played the next match at Rod Laver Arena against No. 18-seeded Karen Khachanov. In a night quarterfinal, third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Jiri Lehecka. The winners of those matches will play each other in the semifinals on Friday.