It was quarter finals Friday at the 2015 Tianjin Open as the last eight women standing were all fighting for a place in the semi finals. At the end of another day of thrilling play in the Northeastern country of Tianjin, it was determined that WTA rising stars Danka Kovinic and Bojana Jovanovski, and seeds Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska would meet in their respective semi finals.
Montenegrin number one Danka Kovinic defeated Duan Ying-Ying — the last Chinese woman standing — 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in a thrilling two hour and six minute battle. Despite winning three more points than her opponent, Duan was unable to capitalize on her chances and Kovinic was able to play the big points better. With this win, the 20-year-old made history for her home country. Having been the first Montenegrin to reach a quarter final at a WTA event, Kovinic is now the first player representing Montenegro to reach the last four at a WTA event.
Her opponent in the next round will be Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski, who defeated fifth seed Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Having both had up-and-down years, there was a lot of anticipation surrounding this encounter. As a result of both women liking to be on the offense, it was critical to see who would be able to take the initiative in as many points as possible. In the opening set, just a break separated the two as Jovanovski held on to her one-break advantage to win the first set 6-4. After trading breaks, it was Moadenovic who was able to break for a second time to win the second set by the same score line. As this quarter final encounter went the distance, frustration was running high for both players — especially Mladenovic. Jovanovski took advantage of her opponent’s lapses in concentration, and broke twice on route to securing a place in the semi final.
In the other half of the draw, third seed Karolina Pliskova was able to easily dispatch Timea Babos 6-3, 6-2 in 61 minutes. After being on the brink of losing in the opening round to Kristina Kucova, Pliskova’s level has risen considerably and at just the right time, considering she is still fighting for a place in the WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Babos, on the other hand, has played well all week, and only lost seven games in two matches coming into this encounter. On paper, this was supposed to be a very tight match that could go either way, but it was the third seeded Czech who took the initiative and won in two — relatively straightforward — sets.
Pliskova will meet second seed Agnieszka Radwanska who is playing arguably, her best tennis of the season. After losing just three games in her opening two rounds, Radwanska survived a tight opening set against WTA rising star Elizaveta Kulichkova to book her place in the semi finals, with a 7-6(3), 6-2 win. The world number six has had a fantastic Asian swing up to this stage of the season, and will be looking to, like Pliskova, qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore, which will be contested in less than two weeks.