Ostapenko wins battle of giant-killers

 26 Feb 2016 - 2:12

Ostapenko wins battle of giant-killers
Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia returns the ball to Zheng Saisai of China during their quarter-final match of the Qatar Total Open championship at Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha yesterday. Ostapenko won 6-4, 6-3. RIGHT: The World No.1 doubles pair of Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Sania Mirza of India, talk in between a point during their match against Russian pair of Daria Kasatkina and Elena Vesnina.  Kasatkina and Vesnina stunned the top ranked pair 2-6, 6-4, 10-5.


Doha:  Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia prevailed in yesterday’s battle of the giant killers at the Qatar Total Open, seeing off Zheng Saisai of China in straight sets while Carla Suárez Navarro of Spain restored a sense of order with a 6-3, 7-6(7/3) win over qualifier Elena Vesnina of Russia.
Yesterday at the Khalifa Tennis Complex, the 18-year-old Latvian  produced another scintillating display of baseline aggression to blow away Zheng, 6-4, 6-3, in an hour and 38 minutes.
On Wednesday, Ostapenko had defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to pull one of the few upsets of the tournament. 
Zheng, on the other hand, was unable to replicate the standards she set in upsetting top seed Angelique Kerber last time out, she battled away gamely throughout. After weathering early onslaughts in both sets - she trailed 3-0 in the first and 4-1 in the second - Zheng clung onto her teenage foe’s coattails to remain competitive.
However, her resistance was finally broken in a titanic penultimate game, Ostapenko converting her fifth break point when a clubbing backhand landed on the baseline. Moments later the Latvian arrived at match point, converting with another pin-point winner.
“First I thought I was going to be playing qualifiers, but then I was second in and got into the main draw,” Ostapenko said.  “Then win by win, I was playing better and better. I’m so happy I’m still here!”
Ostapenko was prepared to take risks - 33 winners were outnumbered by 45 unforced errors - and her reward is a maiden premier semi-final, where she will meet Andrea Petkovic. 
“In the following match, Navarro  reached her second semifinal in Doha and also back into the top 10. 
Meanwhile, Andrea Petkovic of Germany upset fourth seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain to reach the last four stage of the tournament.
Petkovic played some of her best tennis of the year to maintain a perfect head-to-head record against Muguruza, winning, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
“It’s very special,” Petkovic said of her first Top 5 win in three years. 
“It was so tough; Garbiñe is such a talented and dangerous player who put me under pressure. I was a little lucky in the end, but I’m just happy to be through.”
Each woman hit 29 winners, but while the German played cleanly throughout - hitting just 16 unforced errors - Muguruza had more issues with consistency, hitting 38 by match’s end.
Today’s semi-final action begins at 4.00pm. The final will be played on Saturday. The Peninsula