Top seed Sakkari on brink of St Petersburg final

NurPhoto via Getty Images

WATCH the WTA Tour LIVE on beIN SPORTS | available via Foxtel, Kayo Sports, Fetch TV and beIN SPORTS CONNECT

The Greek world No.7 saw off a stern test from Elise Mertens on Saturday (AEDT), winning 7-6 (9-7) 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.

Sakkari had to salvage three set points in the opener, but eventually came out on top in the tie-break at the first time of asking.

Even with a comfortable lead in the second set, she failed to take the first three match points on offer, but got the fourth over the line to progress to her first semi-final of the season.

Sakkari, 26, previously reached the St Petersburg semi-final in 2020, where she lost to Elena Rybakina.

"When you're down in the score, you try to play more aggressively and [Elise] was playing really good in the last couple of games," Sakkari explained. 

"She came up with good serves and solid shots from the baseline. I just fought hard."

Irina-Camelia Begu stands in the way of Sakkari and a place in the final.

The unseeded Romanian overcame two-time grand slam champion Petra Kvitova in the last 16 and defeated Tereza Martincova 6-4 6-2 in her last-eight tie.

It took just 85 minutes for Begu to secure her place in a fourth semi-final of her career at WTA 500 level or higher, but the first since 2017 in Moscow.

World No.9 Anett Kontaveit will face Jelena Ostapenko in the other semi-final, after ousting Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist Belinda Bencic 7-6 (9-7) 6-2.

After her defeat of Bencic, No.2 seed Kontaveit has now won 18 successive matches at indoor tournaments. She is the first player since Justine Henin in 2010 to go on such a streak.

Last year, the Estonian won titles in Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca, which form part of this run.

Ostapenko, meanwhile, beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 to take her place in the last four. The 2017 French Open champion has only lost to top 10 players so far in 2022 (Paula Badosa and Barbora Krejcikova).


>