Serena Shys Away From Barty Battle In Melbourne; Halep Falls, Osaka Still Streaking
by Staff | February 5th, 2021, 3:33 pm
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A mouth-water semifinal between Serena Williams and world No. 1 and Australian favorite Ash Barty won’t happen Saturday in Melbourne after Serena withdrew due to a shoulder.

Serena won her quarterfinal over countrywoman Danielle Collins at the Yarra Valley Classic 6-2, 4-6, [10-6] but gave no hint to a shoulder issue which would force her withdrawal.

“I think it will be a good one actually. I didn’t know I was going to play her, but I was excited,” Serena said of a battle against Barty. “I think it will be an opportunity for both of us to kind of get back in the swing of things. It’s been a long 12 months.

“Hopefully this is like a new year where things will be different.”

But hours later the match was off. Serena’s injury is said to be just precautionary.

Barty advanced also in a match tiebreaker over American Shelby Roger 7-5, 2-6, [10-4].

“Each match has been very different, different challenges, different things I’ve had to overcome, which is the best thing, to be able to work through those and give myself another chance to play a little bit better the next day, focus on some new challenges for the next day.”

She’ll leap right into the final where she’ll await the Garbine Muguruza/Marketa Vondrousova victory.

Muguruza gained some revenge on Sofia Kenin with a 6-2, 6-2 win in their Australian Open final rematch.

I knew it was going to be a very tough game from the baseline, because I remember very clearly the last match,” Muguruza said. “I was looking for it, I was more prepared to for the biggest battle, you know?

“I think I played better, I think I used my shots smarter and took my chances and I think I did well early, so I got the advantage of the score and then I kept playing well and dominating the match.”

In the Gippsland Trophy, Naomi Osaka upped her current win streak to 14 after easing past Irina Camelia Begu 7-5, 6-1. She’ll now meet Elise Mertens who was a match tiebreak winner over Elina Svitolina.

In the upset of the day, Simona Halep was blasted off the court by Ekatarina Alexandrova 6-2, 6-1. Halep won the first two games before Alexandrova ran off 12 of the next 13. Halep was hobbled by what looked like a hip or lower back issue.

“Playing semifinals tomorrow, it’ll be just great for me,” Alexandrova said. “I just tried to play my best. I was kind of nervous at the start because this court isn’t my lucky one, but after two games, I won one game and I felt much better.”

The Russian will face Kaia Kanepi.

In the Grampians for the hard quarantined players, Angelique Kerber will face Maria Sakkari Saturday in the quarters. Victoria Azarenka saved match points in her win over Yulia Putintseva to set up a match against Anett Kontaveit.

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