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Defending Eastbourne champion Ostapenko returns to semifinals

Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko will be the next player to attempt to thwart Beatriz Haddad Maia’s grass-court winning streak when the pair play in Friday’s semifinals at the Rothesay International Eastbourne. 

In Thursday’s quarterfinals, Ostapenko eased to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Anhelina Kalinina and Haddad Maia advanced when Kalinina’s compatriot Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from their anticipated match with a right elbow injury. The Brazilian’s unbeaten run stays at 12. 

Match management: Though Kalinina’s final stat line was clean enough with 18 winners after 13 unforced errors, Ostapenko’s power off the ground proved too much for her to handle. Ostapenko hit a staggering 32 winners to just 13 unforced errors in the win, along with eight aces.

Though she hasn’t lost a set in her title defense so far, Ostapenko said her 69-minute win over Kalinina was her best performance of the week. After losing the first two games of the match, Ostapenko won 11 of the next 13 en route to the victory. 

Words from the winner: “I think today was a much better match. I felt like I was hitting the ball well,” she said. “It’s great to be here. This atmosphere here is amazing and the energy is good, so I’m feeling good.”

Ostapenko will next play Italy’s Camila Giorgi while two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova will be the next player to test Haddad Maia’s unbeaten run. Kvitova was Haddad Maia’s sixth win of the streak: She beat her 7-6(4), 6-2 in the first round in Birmingham last week.

The Brazilian currently owns the longest grass-court winning streak on the Hologic WTA Tour since Serena Williams won 20 straight matches on the surface between Wimbledon in 2015 and 2018. 

Kvitova, Giorgi roll into Eastbourne semifinals

Upcoming outlook: Ostapenko is bidding to reach her second singles final of the season after triumphing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February. The eighth-seeded Latvian is the highest seed left among the four semifinalists.

She’s also through to the semifinals in doubles alongside Lyudmyla Kichenok; they’re bidding for a second consecutive title after winning in Birmingham last week, and Ostapenko is in fact looking to join Haddad Maia (Nottingham) as players to sweep the singles and doubles titles at a grass-court event this summer. 


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