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MENAFN - Arab News - 15/02/2014

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(MENAFN -Arab News) DOHA: Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the latest to be blown away as a mighty storm of seeding upsets continued at the Qatar Open on Friday.

Ten seeds had failed to reach their allotted places when Kvitova, the number three, was outplayed in straight sets in the quarterfinals by Jelena Jankovic, whose recovery from a career-threatening plunge is continuing nicely.

Purely in tennis terms the result was barely a surprise, as the former world number one from Serbia had beaten the unpredictably talented Czech in their last meeting, late last year in Beijing.

But the emphasis of the 6-1, 6-3 victory was. Kvitova, who not so long ago was within two wins of becoming world No.1 herself was only briefly in the match at all.

That was when she started the second set by following a break of Jankovic’s serve with one of only two holds of serve she managed in the entire match, and reached 2-0 and then 3-1. That was the last game Kvitova won.

“I am very consistent and that is what I am trying to do against the top players,” said Jankovic.

“You have to be at the top of your game if you want to beat players like this.

“I have been working very hard,” continued the 29-year-old who has also been making steady progress in the doubles. “I practice hard and do a lot of stretching and I enjoy it.”

Kvitova by contrast looked jaded. Her footwork was sometimes slow and her focus appeared to vary, as evidenced by a sudden spell of brilliance in the final game as her survival instincts kicked in and four match points were saved.

She may have been affected by having played two very hard three-setters — with her friend Lucie Safarova, and with Venus Williams against whom she saved a match point — but the outcome could have ranking repercussions as she has winner’s points to defend next week in Dubai.

For Jankovic the victory was further confirmation that her 2013 recovery is continuing. Injuries caused her to fall to 34 in the rankings at one point and she spent much of 2012 outside the top 20.

She has rebuilt not only her body but her game, with a more forceful service. Now she has a semi-final with Angelique Kerber, the sixth seeded German, with a chance of climbing from her current ranking of eight.

Kerber’s progress came with almost embarrassing ease, by 6-0, 6-1 against the heroine of yesterday, Petra Cetkowska.

It lasted a mere 50 minutes and the Czech player seemed to have been drained by her efforts over two and three-quarter-hours in beating Li Na, the top-seeded Australian Open champion from China.

Del Potro beaten

In Rotterdam, Ernests Gulbis ended Juan Martin del Potro’s winning run when he beat the top seed 6-3, 6-4 in a quarterfinal upset at the Rotterdam World Tennis on Friday.

Gulbis, the world No. 24 from Latvia, will face third seed Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals after the Czech defeated Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-7 (9/11), 6-2, 6-4 in a hard-fought victory which took nearly two-and-a-half hours.

In his last five tournaments as the top seed, defending champion Del Potro had won five titles and 23 straight matches.

Wimbledon winner Andy Murray was trying to maintain the honor of seeds as the No.2 faced former top 10 competitor Marin Cilic of Croatia in the quarter-finals.

German Philipp Kohlschreiber was playing the last surviving Dutchman in Igor Sijsling.

Gulbis, who can be brilliant or less than impressive depending on his mood, preyed upon Del Potro as the Argentine took treatment before the start of the second set on the left wrist which has been posing problems since last month in Australia.

Del Potro came to the match without much ability to hit a penetrating backhand as he plays with medical permission while trying to clear up his wrist problem.

Gulbis will be playing in his first semi-final at the event after advancing in 81 minutes with a dozen aces as he forced Del Potro to save seven of nine break points.


 






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