Berdych, Del Potro enter final
Tokyo, October 4:
Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro continued his stunning run of form to set up a showdown against Tomas Berdych in the final of the Japan Open.
The Argentinian fifth seed, fresh from upsetting defending champion David Ferrer of Spain in the quarter-finals, beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to claim his 29th win in his past 30 matches.
Berdych, the ninth seed from the Czech Republic, staged a great comeback from 0-3 down in the final set to beat second seed Andy Roddick of the United States 6-7 (3/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).
After losing the first set with three breaks against his serve, Gasquet hit form in the second set, with a single break enough to level the match. Gasquet, the fourth seed, had the first chance to break in the final set, only to see Del Potro hit a forehand volley winner.
The Frenchman had another chance in the 11th game, when Del Potro hit a couple of double faults to trail 15-40 but the Argentinian held on. In the other semi-final, Berdych stormed back from 0-3 and 2-5 down in the final set before winning the tie-breaker.
In women’s section, the top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the finals with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over lucky loser Jarmila Gajdosova of Slovakia. Wozniacki will meet fifth-seeded Kaia Kanepi in the finals after the Estonia native forged a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. The world No. 16, Wozniacki is eyeing her third title this season after downing Gajdosova in 75 minutes. The 18-year-old Dane fired four aces and saved five break points to book a spot in her third final of the year after winning titles at Stockholm and New Haven.
After failing to make it past the first round in her last two tournaments, Wozniacki has turned things around here, losing only one set in four matches.Kanepi needed nearly two hours to get past Wozniak and advance to her second career final.
Ranked 33rd in the world, Kanepi was a finalist at Hasselt in 2006 and has semifinal appearances at Acapulco and Seoul this season. The final here will be the first meeting between Kanepi and Wozniacki.
TASHKENT: Sabina Lisicki rallied to upset top-seeded Peng Shuai of China 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Tashkent Open.
The fourth-seeded German will face third-seeded Sorana Cirstea in the final, after Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia retired because of fatigue in the other semi-final. Cirstea had won the first set 6-3.
It will be the first WTA Tour final for Lisicki, while Cirstea was a runner-up in Budapest last year. The 19-year-old Lisicki, ranked 64th, reached the third round of this season’s Australian Open and played in her first quarter-final of a WTA event in Cincinnati in August. The 46th-ranked Cirstea hasn’t dropped a set this week.
STUTTGART: Venus Williams beat third-seeded Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2 at the Porsche Grand Prix to set up a semi-final with Jelena Jankovic, who will be No 1 in next week’s rankings. Jankovic rallied from a break down in each set to edge
seventh-seeded Vera Zvonareva 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5). This was the second time in two weeks Jankovic beat her.
In another quarter-final, Olympic champion Elena Dementieva, seeded fourth, lost to 19-year-old Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-1. Azarenka will next play another Russian in Nadia Petrova. Petrova, the 2006 Stuttgart champion, beat Li Na of China 6-2, 6-3.
Jankovic also beat Zvonareva on the way to winning the China Open last week and now holds a 5-3 career edge over the Russian. She will take over the top ranking Monday because of Serena Williams’ second-round loss to Li Na.
Open de Moselle
METZ: Fifth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia advanced to the Open de Moselle semi-finals, beating Spain’s Carlos Moya 6-3, 6-3. Tursunov had nine aces and converted three of his 10 break points. The Russian will face seventh-seeded Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic. Stepanek beat Argentina’s Eduardo Schwank 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4. In the other quarter-finals, fourth-seeded Paul-Henri Mathieu of France beat Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 7-6 (4), 6-3, and France’s Adrian Mannarino topped countryman Marc Gicquel 6-4, 7-6 (3).