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Swiatek, Kvitova Power into Ostrava semifinals, as Sakkari hopes to snap semifinal losing streak

The top two seeds rolled into the semifinals at Ostrava, as Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova both displayed impressive form.

Iga Swiatek Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates victory after the match against Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open 2021 women’s WTA indoor tennis tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic, September 24, 2021.

Iga Swiatek had never been the top seed at a WTA-level event before this week, but she’s played the part extremely well at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open. The 20-year-old Pole is into the semifinals without dropping a set after taking down No 7 seed Elena Rybakina 7-6(5), 6-2 on Friday in the Czech Republic.

Swiatek, the current world No 6, is the youngest player remaining in the draw at Ostrava. She’ll face fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, after the 26-year-old eased past Czech wild card Tereza Martincova, 7-5, 6-3 on Friday.

Swiatek and Sakkari last met at Roland-Garros, where the Greek topped the defending champion 6-4, 6-4 to reach her maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

The Greek will have that working in her favour as she prepares for Saturday’s tussle, but she’ll also have to contend with the fact that she has lost all five semi-finals she has played in 2021, and nine in succession overall.

Sakkari’s last nine semi-finals

  • Rome 2019, l. Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-4
  • San Jose 2019, l. Zheng Saisai 7-6(5), 6-2
  • St. Petersburg 2020, l. Elena Rybakina 3-6, 7-5, 6-1
  • Ostrava 2020, l. Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3
  • Abu Dhabi 2021, l. Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-2
  • Grampians Trophy 2021, l. Anett Kontaveit 2-6, 6-3, [11-9]
  • Miami 2021, l. Bianca Andreescu 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(4)
  • Roland Garros 2021, l. Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 4-6, 9-7
  • US Open 2021, l. Emma Raducanu 6-1, 6-4

Kvitova finding form on home soil, and loving the experience

Indoor maven Petra Kvitova is always a tough out under a roof, and she’s definitely difficult to stop when playing at home, with the support of the crowd. Today she reached her 56th career semi-final with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Switzerland’s Jil Teichman. Kvitova, who broke late to break open a tight opening set, rallied from 2-0 down in set two, winning six of the final eight games to clinch her victory.

“It was a really big fight, even from the baseline, we played great rallies,” said Kvitova, who saved seven of eight break points on the day to improve to 28-15 on the season. “I think it was a kind of different match today.”

Kvitova will face Annet Kontaveit of Estonia in the semis on Saturday. She said that playing in Ostrava is a totally unique experience for her.

“This is a special tournament because I am playing home,” Kvitova said. “It’s indoor as well. My family is here, because it’s like home, really – I was born 20 minutes by car from here. It’s a different tournament, I spent like every afternoon before the tournament started with my family, it was different, lying in your own bed, my mom took care of me and made a coffee and good snacks as well.

“I was coming here pretty exhausted, I’m still exhausted, but people help me a lot. I’m really appreciating this effort from them.”

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