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Mauresmo Upset in Beijing; Davenport v. Jankovic in SF
Posted on September 22, 2007
BEIJING, China - Peng Shuai continued to thrill her Chinese home crowd and Lindsay Davenport's return remained unblemished, as the quarterfinals took the court in Beijing on Friday. Also moving on were Jelena Jankovic and Agnes Szavay.
Peng stole the show under the lights, coming back from a set down to dismiss No.3 seed Amélie Mauresmo in three sets, 46 64 62. The Chinese, who hits with two hands off both sides, kept Mauresmo at bay with deep drives and sharp angles, and after clinching a tight second set rolled through the decider.
"I thought she played a really good match," Mauresmo said. "Physically, I was tired in that third set, so I was making way too many unforced errors; but I did not expect to be fully fit after five or six weeks off. But hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to play how I did in my first match here and in the opening set today. It's too bad, I would have loved to go through to the semifinals."
Peng's fourth career Top 10 win - all of which have come on hardcourts - propels her into her second straight semifinal at the China Open, having fallen in the same round last year to Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Earlier in the day another impressive streak kept going as Davenport notched her eighth consecutive victory since returning to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, going down a break three times in the first set before picking up speed in the tie-break and never looking back for a 76(1) 61 win over No.4 seed Elena Dementieva. The Russian was the only player Davenport has played since coming back that had already beaten her, doing so five times in their 15 prior meetings.
"I think one of the things that makes Elena so good is that she returns well; she doesn't have the best serve, but she makes up for that by breaking serve a lot," Davenport said. "I knew it would be tough to hold serve today but at the same time I knew I'd get opportunities to break her serve. So I tried to stay positive, come back and return well when I did get broken. I was really happy with the way I played - she's a really good player and it's a great win for me right now."
"I had many opportunities in the first set; I feel I was playing really well but then I lost the rhythm of the game," Dementieva said. "In the second set, she began playing much more solidly and I started making some more unforced errors.
"I watched her play in Bali and here, and she is in very good shape. She's a great champion. She's one of the toughest players I've ever had to play."
Five of Davenport's eight wins since coming back came last week in Bali, her wins over Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova there being of particular note. In 11 days she has won eight matches - an extremely impressive stat considering she was out of singles competition (and aside from one match, out of doubles competition as well) for 51 consecutive weeks.
"I am a little bit tired - there's no question about it, my body is not used to all of these matches. Who knows, maybe sleeping two or three hours a few months ago prepared me for this! But the last 12 days have been the healthiest I've ever been playing tournaments. I feel my stamina is really good. It is tough to keep coming back day after day. Maybe the reason is I'm excited to be playing. I'll keep trying to enjoy it as much as I can."
Rounding out the final four will be No.2 seed Jankovic and No.6 seed Szavay, who both prevailed in straight sets in their respective quarterfinal matches. Jankovic won a scratchy match that featured nine breaks of serve in the second set alone to beat Akiko Morigami, 63 75; Szavay rallied back from a 4-2 second set deficit to bounce lucky loser Maria Emilia Salerni, 62 64.
"She gave me a very tough time, especially in the second set," Jankovic stated. "Luckily I was able to play well enough in the second set to win. I'm really happy to be in the semifinals here. I just want to enjoy it and have fun."
In Saturday's semifinals, Davenport will take on Jankovic in the afternoon, and Szavay plays Peng at night. Davenport is 4-0 lifetime against Jankovic, with their last meeting coming a week ago in Bali and the American prevailing, 64 26 62. Szavay and Peng have met twice previously, but both have come at ITF Women's Circuit tournaments, and the Chinese prevailed both times. (WTA)
In the last remaining doubles quarterfinal, Chinese wildcards Han Xinyun and Xu Yi-Fan beat No.1 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in a match tie-break, 63 26 101. Both doubles semis will also be on Saturday.