Tennis-Noskova stuns Azarenka in Adelaide as Jabeur, Sabalenka reach semis

(Reuters) – Teenaged qualifier Linda Noskova saved a match point before completing a stunning 6-4 6-7(3) 7-6(6) victory over double Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Adelaide International 1.

The 18-year-old Czech broke her Belarusian opponent five times in the clash that lasted nearly three hours and held her nerve in a tight final set tiebreak to prevail.

Noskova, who also upset third seed Daria Kasatkina earlier in the WTA 500 event, next meets favourite and world number two Ons Jabeur who battled past Marta Kostyuk 7-6(5) 7-5.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka staved off a late fightback from former French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova to win 6-3 7-5 in hot conditions.

“It was a tough match. She fought until the end and I was really happy I was able to win,” WTA Finals runner-up Sabalenka said after another battling display in her preparation for the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

“I think because I’m staying really calm and I feel like I’m at home here that’s why I play really well. I haven’t dropped a set yet. Hopefully I’ll keep going like that.”

Up next for Sabalenka is Irina-Camelia Begu who defeated Veronika Kudermetova 7-5 6-4.

FERNANDEZ FALLS IN AUCKLAND

Leylah Fernandez had dropped only three games in two matches at the Auckland Classic ahead of her quarter-final clash against Belgium’s Ysaline Bonaventure but the Canadian – runner-up in the 2021 U.S. Open – crashed to a 6-4 6-2 defeat.

Top seed Coco Gauff had no trouble in her 6-3 6-2 win over China’s Zhu Lin and the American next meets Danka Kovinic who beat Viktoria Kuzmova by the same scoreline.

Rebeka Masarova overcame Karolina Muchova 7-6(4) 7-6(2) to complete the final four in the rain-hit tournament where players competed indoors again.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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