WTA Tianjin: Kuznetsova, Riske and Kovinic through the semifinals

The Russian veteran remains the only seed still in the field after Puig’s loss in the quarterfinals, while Osaka and Han were also losers in today’s matches.

WTA Tianjin: Kuznetsova, Riske and Kovinic through the semifinals
Svetlana Kuznetsova in action against Naomi Osaka during their quarterfinal match at Tianjin Open [Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images]

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Alison Riske and Danka Kovinic are the players who will join Peng Shuai in Tianjin Open’s semifinals on Saturday. The Chinese player already clinched her spot after defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska’s withdrawal from the tournament.

Kuznetsova powers past Osaka in three tight sets

The Russian veteran needed to rally from one set down to defeat an in-form Naomi Osaka, eventually prevailing only after a third-set tiebreak. The first set saw both players struggling in holding their serve, with the Russian especially showing poor consistency during her service games; two important holds from the Japanese let her win the set with a 6-2 score.

Kuznetsova regained some confidence on serve during the second set. After a first part of the game without break points from both sides, the Russian converted her first chance and took the lead in the seventh game, but she got broken back right away. As Osaka couldn’t hold onto her next service game, Kuznetsova gained one more chance, and she didn’t fail to convert it, winning the game 6-4 and forcing the match into a decider.

After a balanced set, without breaks from both players, Kuznetsova had her first match points while Osaka was serving to stay in the match, but failed to convert both of them. The tie-break has been in full control of the Russian, who ended the match with a final 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) score line. 

Danka Kovinic, 2015 finalist, has defeated Monica Puig to reach the semifinals [Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images]

Kovinic outlasts Puig, Riske defeats Han

Danka Kovinic, who is defending the points from last year’s final, continued her run in Tianjin after her win against fifth seed Monica Puig. The first set saw Kovinic more solid on serve and return, without giving Puig any chance to break, but gaining herself seven break points. She managed to convert only one, but it has been enough to let her win the first set.

Puig’s struggles on return games continued in the second set. Quickly 4-1 down, she won one of the breaks back, but couldn’t go any further, dropping a crucial game while serving to stay in the set. Kovinic won the match with a final 6-4, 6-3 score.

With a similar result, 2014 champion Alison Riske won her ticket to the semifinals, battling past China’s Han Xinyun with a double 6-3 scoreline.

The first set started with a battled exchange of breaks, followed by a more solid play on serve from both players. Still a break up on her opponent, Riske saved a break point before successfully serving out the first set. The second set showed the very same inconsistency on serve from both players, and it has been a break to love that ended the match in the American’s favour, who will now try to gain access to  her third WTA final of the year.

2014 champion Alison Riske in action against Han Xin-Yun during their quarterfinal match [Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images]

Tomorrow’s schedule

In the first match on Centre Court tomorrow, wild card Peng Shuai will take on Danka Kovinic, followed by the second semifinal match between Alison Riske and second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. The last match of the day will see the second doubles semifinal between Olga Savchuk and Wang Yafan facing Magda Linette and Xu Yifan for a place in the final, where they will meet Peng Shuai and Christina McHale