What looked to be a star-studded finish to the clay court event in Charleston evaporated on Friday as the tournament lost its three biggest remaining stars: Ash Barty, Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens.
Barty, who had just defended her Miami title on Saturday, was dismissed by Paola Badosa 6-4, 6-3.The Spaniard had never won a match against a Top 20 player entering the week, but after wins over Belinda Bencic and now Barty, she’s into her biggest career semifinal.
“I know I’m playing the World No. 1, and she’s an amazing player, but I’m on a clay court,” the 23-yera-old Badosa said. “I know how to play on clay courts, I like to play on clay courts.
“I knew I had to focus on myself, if she was better than me today, that could be a possibility, so I’d just have to accept it. But at least I tried to do my game, my serve, my forehand, my backhand, and focus on me, and that’s what I did.”
Badosa out aced Barty and broke the Australian five times. The former 2015 French Open junior champion will now meet Veronika Kudermetova who upended former Charleston champion Stephens 6-3, 6-4.
“I really like to play on the clay because I think I have a lot of time to do what I want,” Kudermetova said on court.
“It’s the first time I beat a player who’s won a Grand Slam and I think that’s really important for me. I tried to play aggressive and not give her time, and I think that was the key for this match.”
Gauff was eliminated in fine fashion by Ons Jabeur 6-3, 6-3. It was Jabeur’s first win over the American teen in three tries.
“Maybe this year is a revenge year for me,” Jabeur said. “Honestly, mentally-wise I’m much better. I’m getting there. I had my opportunities against her last year. She’s a great player. I know exactly what I’m going to face and I was ready for the battle.”
The 17-year-old Gauff suffered a hip injury during the loss forcing her out of the “McCoco” doubles later.
After snapping a 5-match losing streak in quarterfinals, Jabeur will battle Danka Kovinic today in the semifinals. Kovinic rallied from a set down to beat Yulia Putintseva 6-7(2), 7-5, 6-1. Kovinic upset
The 500-level tournament began with 10 players ranked in the Top 25. None made the semifinals. That means someone will leave Charleston with a first WTA title.
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