It was a day of upsets at the Auckland Open as the top seeds remaining in the draw all fell in their respective matches, with Caroline Wozniacki and Barbora Strycova being on the receiving end of an upset. Meanwhile, there were some injury concerns as Naomi Osaka and Lucie Safarova (doubles) both either withdrew or retired from their matches, putting their participation at the Australian Open a concern.
Goerges completes improbable comeback
Julia Goerges saw everything not going right for her when she went down 1-6, 0-3 to Caroline Wozniacki, with an abundance of unforced errors coming out from her racquet. Looking to be very frustrated with herself, Goerges called for an on-court coaching with her coach, which unexpectedly had a great match. It was totally different Goerges that came out afterward as she started to step up her game, and be more offensive than ever. This saw Wozniacki losing focus on the game as Goerges soon went back level at 3-3 after some solid tennis played by her.
Her run was not over though, as she quickly clinched the second set by winning the next three games to seal a moral bagel against the Dane and be a set away from the upset and the comeback. With the power from the German unable to go against, the former world number one seemed helpless and started letting Goerges hit consecutive winners past her, which got the crowd very involved. Wozniacki attempted to make a late comeback in the match at 5-1 when Goerges cracked under pressure and served some double faults. She managed to close the deficit to just one game, but this time, Goerges held her nerves and served an ace down the tee to clinch the victory and the comeback.
Davis causes another upset
In the other upset of the day, Lauren Davis successfully ended Barbora Strycova’s Auckland campaign as she strolled to a straight sets victory. Davis came out firing from the start as Strycova did not look like her mind was in the match, hitting numerous unforced errors. Also, we have to credit Davis’ offensive style of tennis as that managed to overpower the Czech’s defense. Therefore, Davis won the first set 6-1 without any troubles to edge herself closer to a semifinal to start the year. Strycova almost fell behind by a break in the second set, but showed nerves of steel to hold her serve until the ninth game, where Davis played excellently to break serve and earn the opportunity to serve out the match.
Strycova did not give up though, as she showed her determination and fighting spirit to break back immediately and keep her in the match. The Czech then held a set point at 6-5 but failed to convert it. She would rue the missed opportunity as the set was extended into a tiebreak to decide the winner. It was a tight affair in the early stages of the tiebreak, but it started all going wrong for Strycova after a double fault at 3-2, giving Davis the first mini-break. Davis did not lose her lead from then on, eventually clinching the upset after 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Osaka retires from her match
Ana Konjuh progressed into the semifinals after her opponent in the quarterfinal, Naomi Osaka retired after three games due to a left wrist injury. The injury was notable as Osaka had some heavy strapping on her left wrist, and was often forced to hit her forehand at awkward positions. The retirement would perhaps just be a precaution for the upcoming Australian Open, but no one knows the extent of the injury except her team and Osaka herself.
Ostapenko triumphs in straight sets
Jelena Ostapenko had a slow start when she found herself 0-3 down in the first set after Madison Brengle was focused on the match as soon as it started. Nevertheless, Ostapenko soon stepped up her game and saw herself serving for the set after an incredible run of winning five games in a row. Brengle was able to break back, but crumbled to the pressure while serving to stay in the set at 5-6, allowing Ostapenko to be halfway from a semifinal spot. There was an exchange of breaks early in the second set, when Brengle fought back to make the second set on serve after the Latvian went up by a lead of a set and a break. Ostapenko finally earned the crucial break she needed as she broke at 3-2 to regain the lead. A tense end to the match saw Ostapenko waste four match point opportunities but finally converted on her fifth match point opportunity after Brengle hit a forehand long.
The doubles semifinals of the Auckland Open after Kirsten Flipkens/Jelena Ostapenko defeated Shuko Aoyama/Makoto Ninomiya in three sets to set up a meeting with third seeds Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson, who defeated wildcards Marina Erakovic and Heather Watson in straight sets.
Meanwhile, top seeds Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova gave a walkover to Demi Schuurs and Renata Voracova due to a hip injury suffered by Safarova, most probably as a precaution for the Australian Open.