Zheng Scrapes Into Osaka Semis
Published October 15, 2011 10:25
OSAKA, Japan - Chinese star Zheng Jie overcame a lengthy rain delay and fourth seed Petra Cetkovska on Saturday, joining the Top 3 seeds in the semis of the HP Open. Earlier, Samantha Stosur, Marion Bartoli and Angelique Kerber had posted more straightforward wins after rain meant none of the $220,000 event's quarterfinals could take to the courts on Friday.
After being blanked in the opening set by her red-hot opponent - at one stage losing 10 points in a row - crafty Zheng rallied in the second, breaking for 6-5 and leveling the match with the help of two double faults from the Czech player in the next game.
The 28-year-old former world No.15 was leading 3-2 on serve in the final set when the match was suspended due to rain; when play resumed on an indoor court several hours later she immediately broke Cetkovska for 4-2 and duly served it out to love, 06 75 63.
Next up for Zheng is top seed Stosur, an assured winner over No.7 seed Chanelle Scheepers, 62 63. The US Open champion issued six aces and saved all four break points faced, while converting three of nine break points to snap the South African's resistance.
Wildcard Bartoli, the No.2 seed, was even more efficient against Japanese No.1 Ayumi Morita: the Frenchwoman didn't face a single break point against the No.6 seed, breaking five times for a 62 61 victory. On Sunday Bartoli faces third-seeded Kerber for a place in the final, after the German lefty dispatched defending champion Tamarine Tanasugarn, 63 64.
Bartoli leads Kerber 2-1 in their head-to-head, although they haven't played for over three years. Stosur is 2-1 against Zheng, most recently winning a first round encounter at Miami in straight sets. The final is scheduled to be played later on Sunday.
Kimiko Date-Krumm, who was runner-up here in the singles to Tanasugarn 12 months ago but was ousted by Cetkovska in the first round this week, found some consolation in winning through to the doubles final.
Date-Krumm and Zhang Shuai, the No.4 seeds, defeated Jarmila Gajdosova and Kerber, 63 63. The Japansese-Chinese duo await either top seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova or No.3 seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears. Their semi was halted by rain with King and Shvedova leading 60 21; the match is to be completed on Sunday morning.