Kvitova, Garcia advance to Cincinnati women’s final

Western & Southern Open - Day 8
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MASON, Ohio — Petra Kvitova outlasted Madison Keys 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Western & Southern Open final.

The 32-year-old Kvitova had never advanced to the semifinals in 10 prior appearances in the Cincinnati tournament. It is Czech’s 40th career final, and she’ll face another surprise entrant in Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the first qualifier to reach the final in Cincinnati.

“That’s nice to have this experience, even in my age,” Kvitova said, smiling. “In my career, I had many, many finals, but never here. It feels different because it’s for the first time in Cincinnati.”

Kvitova almost didn’t make it out of the first round, having to save a match point against last year’s finalist, Jil Teichmann. She also needed three sets to beat fifth-ranked Ons Jabeur in the third round.

“It’s like a second chance that you are almost gone and now you are still here and playing in the (final),” Kvitova said.

Keys, the 2019 champion in Cincinnati, defeated three grand slam winners this week, but couldn’t close out Kvitova.

The 28-year-old Garcia won her seventh straight match, beating sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

There were two rain stoppages during the match, totaling four hours. Garcia took the first set, but following an almost 2 1/2-hour delay, Sabalenka forced a third set.

The second rain delay came with Garcia leading 3-1 in the third. But once play resumed, she made quick work of the Belarusian, winning three straight games to become the first qualifier to reach the finals in a WTA 1000 event.

“No one expected it, that’s for sure,” Garcia said. “It’s a long way to come from (qualifiers). It’s one match at a time. Try to take the best from every match and improve through the tournament.”

It will be the ninth meeting between Kvitova and Garcia, with Kvitova winning five, including two straight wins in Miami and Madrid.

“She’s a great champion,” Garcia said. “You have to play faster and move better on court against a player like this. It’s a great challenge for me to play against Petra.”

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.