The semifinals of the Auckland Open saw Lauren Davis benefitting from a retirement for Jelena Ostapenko due to a viral illness and Ana Konjuh triumphing in three sets against Julia Goerges in a two-hour thriller to set up a final showdown on Saturday. The doubles final was also set with a surprise finalist facing the third seeds Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson in the final.
Davis progresses to final after Ostapenko retires
Jelena Ostapenko had a perfect start to the match as she broke serve immediately in the opening game of the match and took the advantage early on. The Latvian managed to consolidate her break of service but got through the tough way as she had to save two break points to hold her serve. The nightmare start continues for Davis as she was broken once more despite holding a break point but credit still has to go to Ostapenko as her accurate and consistent forehands managed to trouble Davis.
She got a way back into the first set after she broke back to love to get one of the breaks back. Ostapenko soon restored her three games lead as she managed to prevent Davis from consolidating her break by breaking back immediately. Serving for the set at 5-3, Ostapenko showed some nerves as she was broken to love by Davis after she managed to step up her game to keep her in the set. The Latvian finally closed out the set having held her serve to love, recovering from the four missed set point opportunities in a marathon 18-point game. Ostapenko had an early chance to open up a set and a break lead but she missed a break point opportunity as Davis held her nerves to hold serve and prevent the Latvian from running away with the match. Ostapenko would rue the missed opportunity as Davis immediately broke in the next game to earn the lead for the first time in the match. Finding for a break of service to return level, Ostapenko finally earned it in the seventh game where she made the scores level and gave herself a chance to close it out in straight sets. Succumbing to the pressure, Ostapenko was broken once again to gift the second set away and allowed Davis a way back into the match.
The American made a perfect start to the final set with the momentum running in her as she broke serve in the second game despite being 0-40 down in the game. Ostapenko’s woes continued as she threw away three break point opportunities in the next game after she lost five straight points from being 40-0 up. The young Latvian finally got herself onto the scoreboard as she battled through a tough game to hold serve and prevent herself from lagging behind too much in the score. The Latvian seemed to have some problems with playing her normal tennis and eventually retired due to a viral illness. Ostapenko told the press after her match, “Today, I woke up in the morning with a fever, coughing and everything. I felt much worse today than yesterday.” The Doha finalist also added, “During the match, I felt my throat was very painful, and my concentration wasn’t good. I wanted to play but I couldn’t because I’m sick.”
Konjuh comes through against Goerges
Both players started the match well and came out firing, with both hitting an abundance of winners and looked like they were playing their best tennis. The first break of serve came in the sixth game when Konjuh first broke serve to take the lead in the first set and put herself in an advantageous position to win the first set. Konjuh continued playing her best offensive tennis as she managed to keep Goerges behind the baseline often on the defense and kept her lead intact with a tough consolidation of the break after having to save a break point in the process.
The Croatian finally clinched the first set 6-3 after a nervy game to end the set with as she had to save another break point in the process. Goerges went straight on the offense in the second set and that strategy proved effective as she broke Konjuh’s serve in the fourth game to earn the lead for the first time in the match. The rising star then almost got the chance to break straight back but Goerges stepped up her game and held her serve to affirm her lead. The German lost her lead at the last moment after the 2016 US Open quarterfinalist broke serve to make the set return on serve right when Goerges was serving for the set. However, her celebrations were short-lived as Konjuh was quickly broken once again to gift the break and the set to Goerges and let her have a way back into the match. Konjuh got a headstart in the final set as she managed to break serve in the opening game as her offensive style of tennis once again paid off with great results. The fourth game saw Goerges earn a total of five break point opportunities but was unable to convert on anyone of them as the Croatian’s consistent and strong serves managed to help her survive the game and hold onto her lead. Konjuh once again stepped up her game to close out the match in a little over two hours after she broke serve once more to clinch her place in the final. Something worth noting is that this match-up is also a round one match in the Hobart International next week.
The doubles final is set after Demi Schuurs and Renata Voracova upset the fourth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Zhaoxuan Yang in straight sets to reach just their second final together as a pair. They would meet a tougher opponent in third seeds Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson, who has achieved more together as a pair and are far more higher-ranked. Bertens and Larsson progressed to the final after they received a walkover from Kirsten Flipkens and Jelena Ostapenko, who had to withdraw due to Ostapenko suffering from a viral illness which also caused her to retire from her singles semifinal.