WTA Birmingham: Semifinals set at Aegon Classic in a full day of play
Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain celebrates her victory during her women's singles quarter final match against Angelique Kerber of Germany on day five of the WTA Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 17, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by S

The weather eventually allowed a full day of play in Birmingham; all the remaining second round matches of Aegon Classic as well as all the quarterfinal matches had been completed today.

Defending champion Angelique Kerber is among the victims of the day, losing her quarterfinal match to Spain Carla Suárez Navarro. CoCo Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, and Barbora Strycova complete the semifinals draw.

The doubles quarterfinals draw had also been completed.

All Brits knocked out in second round matches

Almost all the second round matches needed to be played today, as the tournament’s schedule suffered long delays, after four days in a row of forced interruptions due to rain.

Almost all the players needed to play two times to complete today’s schedule.

The only two remaining British players, ninth seed Johanna Konta and Heather Watson, fell in two sets to Yanina Wickmayer and Barbora Strycova respectively.

Konta rushed ahead to gain the first break, but then she lost 5 of the following six games to give up the set to the Belgian. The second set saw six breaks in total, and again it had been Wickmayer to claim it, on her first match point. A more consistency on serve and returns (she gained 11 break points, to Konta’s 4) granted the Belgian the victory.

“I’ve played four very good matches, so I’m really happy with the amount of time I’ve been able to get on the grass – obviously I’d always like to have more”, Konta told the press. “However, I need to get used to players coming out and playing at a better level against me and that’s inevitable as I climb the rankings. I’m just looking forward to the challenge, working hard and trying to do my best.”

“I’m very much looking forward to my next event in Eastbourne”, Konta added. “It’s a home tournament for me so I’ll enjoy spending some time there before Wimbledon and playing in front of a home crowd.”

Watson battled the first set against 2014 finalist Strycova, immediately losing her serve but taking the break back just as the Czech was serving for the set. Strycova broke her back right away, and then successfully served out the set and consolidated her advantage. Falling down a break again, Watson saved three match points in the second-to-last game of the second set, and one more in the following game, but in the end surrendered to the Czech on the fifth match point.

“I feel like I’m striking the ball really well, there are just a few tweaks that I need to make going into Wimbledon. I’m feeling very optimistic, even though I lost today”, Watson said in her press conference.

Heather Watson of Great Britain during her women's singles second round match against Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic on day five of the WTA Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 17, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for LTA)
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Kerber, Suárez  Navarro, and Vandeweghe win delayed second round matches

The other second round matches showed Angelique Kerber performing a comeback against Daria Gavrilova, and Carla Suárez Navarro winning an almost three-hour battle against Andrea Petkovic. CoCo Vandeweghe won the American derby against Christina McHale.

Daria Gavrilova and Angelique Kerber reprised their yesterday's match with the Australian breaking Kerber in the final game of the first set, to win it with a 7-5 scoreline. From then on, everything followed the German’s momentum, as Gavrilova only won four games in the following two sets, eventually booked by Kerber with a double 6-2 scoreline. 

Andrea Petkovic and Carla Suárez Navarro started their match with the Spaniard booking the second set’s tiebreak after the German won the first set with a 6-4 scoreline in yesterday’s play. Another tie-break in the third had been necessary to determine this match’s winner; one more time, it’s Suarez Navarro who claim it, after wasting three match points in the ninth game and failing to serve out the set right after. For the Spaniard, it had been the third victory in a row against Petkovic.

CoCo Vandeweghe, who previously knocked out top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska, won the all-American second round match against qualifier Christina McHale. From 2-3 down, she won four games in a row to book the first set, and then won the second in a little battled second set tie-break, who saw Ricoh Open champion prevail with a 7-2 scoreline.

All the winners of today’s second round matches needed to play again to get past the quarterfinals.

Angelique Kerber of Germany celebrates her victory during her women's singles second round match against Daria Gavrilova of Australia on day five of the WTA Aegon Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 17, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for LTA)
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Suárez Navarro upsets Kerber; Keys, Vandeweghe, and Strycova through the semifinals

On Ann Jones Centre Court Carla Suárez Navarro chased down every ball to knock out defending champion Angelique Kerber in a three-set battle.

Falling immediately a set down to the Spaniard, who claimed the first set with a 6-4 scoreline, the match seemed to start to follow the German’s momentum - like it happened in the match against Gavrilova - as the Australian Open champion immediately reacted to take the second set with a neat 6-1.

Kerber didn’t manage to keep the same rhythm in the decider; she had been the first to break, but she lost the advantage right away, and then she lost her serve with the worst timing possible, while serving from a 5-all scoreline. The German had three chances to break back in the last game, but didn’t convert any, and eventually the Spaniard converted her second match point to win the set and the match.

“I'm playing good tennis”, Kerber told the press. “Today was a close match, just one or two points decide the match. Carla won at the end. It's always tough to play against her. We always have tough matches. That's all I can say. I just take positive things from the week. I'm feeling good on grass. This is the positive thing I will take into Wimbledon now.”

“I mean, you are going there [to Wimbledon] to play your best tennis”, Kerber added. “This is my goal. This is always my goal in every tournament. You're looking round to round, trying to getting into the tournament. First few rounds is always tough in every tournament, for me especially in the Grand Slams. First of all, I will just be focusing on my first round in London.”

For Suárez Navarro, it will be the second semifinal on grass in career after the one lost to Simona Halep in s-Hertogenbosch in 2013.

Ann Jones Centre Court also saw Madison Keys and Jelena Ostapenko battle for a place in the semifinals. Ostapenko, who had defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Petra Kvitova in the previous rounds, eventually surrendered to the American, who reached the semifinals in Birmingham for the first time in career.

With a clear 7-1 on the first set tie-break, after wasting an advantage on 4-3 scoreline, it had been the Latvian who gained the advantage, forcing Keys to rally back to take the win. 

Down a break in the second, the American won three games in a row to take the lead and kept it until the end to gain the second set with a 6-4 scoreline. The third set saw Keys prevail one more time, attacking Ostapenko’s serve to take the set with a 6-2 scoreline. For Keys it had been the second best result on grass, after the title she won in Eastbourne in 2014.

On Court 1, CoCo Vandeweghe improved her winning streak on grass to seven matches as she got rid of Yanina Wickmayer in two sets. Prevailing after a battle first set, the American found no trouble in the second, breaking her opponent twice and serving out the match to love, with a final 6-4, 6-2 scoreline. Vandeweghe now could try to improve her great form on grass, by winning her second tournament in a row, after her second career title gained in s-Hertogenbosch.

Barbora Strycova took on the last qualifier left, Tsvetana Pironkova, and defeated her in straight sets. All easy on the first for the Czech, as she broke the Bulgarian’s serve twice to claim the set with a 6-2 scoreline. More battle happened in the second, as Pironkova took an immediate lead, gaining the chance to serve for the set from 5-2 up. From them on, the Bulgarian lost five games in a row to lose the second set and the match to the Czech, on her first match point. 

All the quarterfinals doubles matches had also been played today. First seeds Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Chuang Chia-jung, while fourth seeds Andreja Klepac and Katarina Srebotnik fell to Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva. Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova booked their win against Darija Jurak and Anastasia Rodionova. Heather Watson and Naomi Broady won the battle of wild cards, knocking out Johanna Konta and Elina Svitolina in two sets.

Tomorrow’s schedule

All the semifinals matches of both singles and doubles are scheduled for tomorrow, and they will be all played on Ann Jones Centre Court. Madison Keys and Carla Suárez Navarro will start off the day, followed by CoCo Vandeweghe and Barbora Strycova. Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan will take on Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva, and the last game will see Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Strycova opposed to Heather Watson and Naomi Broady.

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