Prague | Potapova upsets Kontaveit to reach her 3rd SF in a row

On a day of upsets, Russian Anastasia Potapova dropped just 2 games to topple World No 2 Anett Kontaveit in the quarter-finals of the Livesport Prague Open in the Czech Republic on Friday to make it into her 3rd straight semi-final, and her 4th of 2022 overall.

The No 7 seed also scored the second Top 5 win of her career, and had lost to Kontaveit in straight sets a week before in Hamburg.

It was the biggest win of her career so far, as Potapova barrelled past the Estonian in just 49 minutes in the Czech capital, 6-1 6-1, breaking serve 5 times and never even facing a break point herself.

Before this, Potapova’s biggest career win had come against a 5th-ranked Angelique Kerber in the first round of Roland Garros back in 2019.

She has not lost a set at the hard-court tournament so far, and will face China’s Qiang Wang in the Last 4, who prevailed over Poland’s Magda Linette, 7-5 6-7(5) 6-4.

Potapova was heralded as having huge potential as a teenager but was one of several young players whose progress was slowed down by the pandemic in 2020.

Now 21, she is on a roll again and has been unstoppable this week, producing a masterclass over the No 1 seed, outhitting Kontaveit from the back of the court and executing a perfect balance between aggression and power to blow the Estonian away.

Potapova will face a resurgent Wang Qiang from China, who scaled the qualifying hurdles to reach her first WTA semi-final since February and who has the skills to combat the Russina’s firepower.

8th-seeded Marie Bouzkova kept home hopes alive as the Czech beat another Russian, qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva, 6-3 6-0, to advance to the semi-finals, where the Wimbledon quarter-finalist will play Linda Noskova in an all-Czech match.

Bouzkova used her considerable experience to take down two teenagers in the draw, and is now the odds-on favourite to win her first title this weekend.

17-year-old Noskova, advanced to her first career WTA semi-final after her opponent, Japan´s lucky loser Nao Hibino, retired when trailing 6-3, 4-2.

One of a slew of talented teenagers coming through the ranks of Czech tennis, Noskova is guaranteed to crack the top 100 for the first time on Monday, thanks to her breakthrough run in her homeland.

The wild-card defeated former top 20 player Mihaela Buzarnescu in just her second WTA main draw match and then orchestrated a major upset in the 2nd-round by eliminating the wily Frenchwoman, Alizé Cornet.

Guaranteed a Czech in the WTA 250 final on Sunday, home interest will remain high at the Sparta Club in Prague.

17-year-old wild-card Linda Noskova used her wide array of lobs, drop-shots, powerful groundstrokes and a miraculous reflex volley to make her first WTA semi-final in Prague

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