Stunned by Jessica Pegula, Poland’s World No.1 Swiatek admits frustrating time while tackling feisty American in United Cup semis; Sakkari crashes too
Poland’s Iga Swiatek reacts after conceding a point to Jessica Pegula in Sydney yesterday. Pics/AFP
A “helpless” Iga Swiatek was left in tears after Jessica Pegula stunned the World No.1 on Friday with Greece’s sixth-ranked Maria Sakkari also crashing to defeat in the semi-finals of the inaugural United Cup. Less than two weeks before the Australian Open, Poland’s Swiatek had no answers to the American’s powerful serve and searing returns, crashing 6-2, 6-2 in a deflating 71-minute defeat in Sydney.
A perfect match
“She played I think a perfect match, and it was pretty hard for me to find any spot where I could come back, because she really didn’t let me do that,” said Swiatek. “I just knew that I felt kind of helpless today, because physically and mentally I wasn’t able to kind of show up even, and problem-solve,” she added of why the tears came.
Tiafoe beats Zuk
“So it’s always hard when you lose, especially when you’re playing for the team and your country. So I was just sad. But, you know, it’s not the first time I cried after a lost match.” Men’s World No.19 Frances Tiafoe then put the United States on the cusp of Sunday’s final when he swept past Kacper Zuk 6-3, 6-3.
Tiafoe was initially supposed to play Daniel Michalski, but he pulled out with illness. Italy took an early advantage in their semi-final against Greece, with a fired-up Martina Trevisan upsetting Sakkari 6-3, 6-7(4/7), 7-5 in a gruelling 3hr 14min epic. “Oh my god, it was a great battle today, I’m really, really happy,” said the 27th-ranked Italian who clocked one of the biggest wins of her career.
“My team was incredible, they gave me a lot of energy. It was amazing.” “My level is pretty high, it has been for a while now,” said Tiafoe. “I believe I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life, I’m just having fun out there on court.”
Djoko sets up SF with Medvedev
Top seed Novak Djokovic battled past dangerous Canadian Denis Shapovalov with a high-octane performance Friday to set up an Adelaide International semi-final with former world number one Daniil Medvedev.
The Serbian, bidding for a 92nd career title in preparation for the Australian Open this month, overcame early wobbles before hitting his stride to win 6-3, 6-4. He now meets Medvedev, who proved too strong for compatriot Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3.
Women’s top seed Ons Jabeur went 3-0 behind in the first set against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, but rallied to win 7-6 (7/5), 7-5. The Tunisian will take on rising Czech teen Linda Noskova for a place in the final after she outlasted veteran Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-7(3/7), 7-6(8/6).
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