Sixth seeded player Na-Lae Han beat giant-killer Kathinka Von Deichmann in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 in 1 hour and 31 minutes, to storm into the semi-finals of the Al Habtoor Women’s 25K in Dubai on Thursday. Von Deichmann had stunned top seed Lin Zhu in the previous round.
While the WTA-ranked 205 player from South Korea converted two out of three break points to easily pocket the first 6-1, the WTA-ranked 248 from Liechtenstein fought back to take the second set into a tie-break which Na-Lae ultimately took 7-5 and along with it, the match.
Both players were quite erratic as the match stats show. There were breaks galore during the course of the two sets played out. While Von Deichmann failed to break Na-Lae’s service game in the first set, she did convert 3 out of 4 break points in the second. On the other hand, the South Korean player had 7 break points out of which she converted five – two out of three in the first and three out of four in the second.
While the player from Liechtenstein managed 72 per cent of her first service in, the South Korean had an even lesser 67 per cent of her first service in, albeit recording a slightly better success percentage of winners on her first service than did her vanquished opponent.
Na-Lae will now face qualifier Yuliya Hatouka in the semi-finals. Belarussian Hatouka got the better of WTA-ranked 228 Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria in straight sets 6-2, 7-5. The lower-ranked Hatouka, who is world no.300, converted two of five break points won, to take the first set, 6-2. In the second set, while Kostova broke Hatouka’s serve once, the Belarussian broke her opponent’s service game twice to take the set 7-5 and with it, the match in 1hour and 43 minutes.
While Hatouka fired in six service aces, Kostova was not far behind with four. Though the winner from Belarus managed only 55 per cent legitimate first services during the course of the match – as against 65 per cent clocked by her losing opponent – she managed to win a whopping 85 per cent of her first services, whereas Kostova could win only a measly 51 per cent of her first services during the course of their last eight encounter.
In another quarter-final, WTA-ranked 254 player from Russia Anastasia Zakharova prevailed over her higher-ranked rival and tournament fourth seed, Daria Snigur from Ukraine, in three lop-sided sets 2-6, 6-0, 6-0. Though the match was a three-set affair, it took a mere 1 hour and 23 minutes to finish, with the Ukranian not able to win a single service game in the second and third sets.
The first set was marked with a plethora of service breaks. While the Russian Zakharova had four, two of which she managed to convert, Snigur converted four out of six break points to take the first set 6-2. The match saw a sea change in player fortunes thereafter with the Ukrainian’s service game going to tatters. While she managed to clock just 50 per cent legit first services, improving slightly to 63 per cent in the second, the Russian did far better in this regard, getting 79 per cent of her first services in the second set and an even higher 85 per cent of her first services in, in the decider.
With Snigur having an off service day in the second and third sets, both were finished in 23 minutes each to give Russia’s Zakharova a semi-final meeting with Great Britain’s Jodie Anna Burrage.
The WTA-ranked 258 player had the measure of 355th-ranked Shalimar Talbi from Belarus, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that took 1 hour and 43 minutes. Talbi, a qualifier, did manage to give a fight to her higher-ranked British conqueror. The player from Belarus had her fair share of break points during the course of the match. While she converted one out of three in the first set, she managed to break the Briton’s service game twice in the second out of the three chances that came her way.
However, in the end, with both players not having a particularly strong service game, Burrage’s five breaks out of a 13 break points won, made the difference to the final outcome of the match.
While Burrage broke Talbi’s service twice in the first set out of the four chances she had, the second set saw the player from Belarus staging some sort of a fightback. Though the Briton had a mammoth nine service break points, out of which she managed to convert three, which though saw Talbi managing to extend her stay on court, it was not enough to take the match beyond two sets.