Ana Konjuh and Lauren Davis will battle it out for the ASB Classic Trophy in a tournament that has provided headline after headline.
It was a day of controversy in Auckland after Jelena Ostapenko suddenly pulled out of the first Semi Final late in the piece. Her opponent, Lauren Davis from America, had battled back in the match and was on the verge of victory when the retirement came.
Post match, it was revealed that Ostapenko was suffering from a viral illness. Ostapenko has never won a WTA Singles title and is relatively young in her professional career.
Davis will take on 19-year old Ana Konjuh after Russia’s rising star managed to win an epic battle against Julia Goerges.
Jelena Ostapenko Retires With Semi Slipping Away
It was the perfect start to a semi final for Jelena Ostapenko, but Lauren Davis showed grit and bravery as she stormed back into the match to make it a three-set thriller.
The ending of the match took everyone by surprise, but this was two hours of tennis worth the recap.
Davis battled a thigh injury on her right leg and had to take a medical break during the match. With tape strapped, the American came storming back to get within a single game in the First Set, coming back from 5-1 down.
Davis continued to turn the tables in the Second Set. Despite making an impressive start, Ostapenko looked all at sea, making basic errors and finding herself three breaks down. The brilliant return game that had Davis reeling in the First Set had all but deserted Ostapenko.
Ostapenko notched 45 unforced errors, prompting a pep talk on court by her mother, who also doubles as her coach. When Ostapenko lost confidence in her serve, her game fell to pieces. The retirement came moments later.
Ana Konjuh Survives Epic Semi Final
In the second Semi Final, an intense and bitter battle between Julia Goerges and Ana Konjuh provided the match of the tournament so far.
There was a decent difference in age between the two players, nearly ten years in fact, yet the winning experience on the WTA tour is slim. Goerges has two singles titles to her name, while Konjuh has one, and far less prize money to boot. Goerges has experienced a lot of success in doubles tennis also, with five WTA titles under her belt.
Konjuh played well throughout the week and had garnered some popularity in Auckland.
Leading the First Set 4-2, the young Russian didn’t take long to find herself well on the way to winning the opening stanza. It was the control of Konjuh’s shots that proved the difference, meanwhile Goerges made a hash of a few point-winning opportunities with plenty of blue court to hit into.
Konjuh was a little erratic with her serve, and it was Goerges’ control of hers that saw the German wrestle into a Second Set lead.
What eventuated was a colossal battle in the Third Set, and it was quickly becoming the most exciting game of the tournament. Both women showed rare signs of frustration and desperation, but it was Konjuh who was getting more winners by hitting the bigger angles.
Both women stayed at the baseline, but Konjuh was able to get to a crucial break. Goerges was enthusiastic and determined to not let Konjuh get away, but the 19-year old remained composed and found a way to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Big Names All Gone From ASB Classic
As day five of the tournament began, fans were still reeling from the fact that three of the big draws have already departed. Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, and Serena Williams, all failed to make the semi finals.
Serena Williams was dumped out of the classic in the Second Round, her older sister Venus withdrew with injury, and Wozniacki was beaten in her quarter final clash.
It left the final two days of competition, with just three singles matches remaining on Centre Court.