San Jose | Badosa beats Gauff, but Jabeur and Sabalenka both fall

Paula Badosa, the No 2 seed, stopped Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, California, but both Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka, the 3rd and 4th seeds, were sent packing by Veronika Kudermetova and Daria Kastakina respectively on Friday.

It’s never easy to start against such an aggressive player with a big serve. I think I adapted pretty well in the [end] of the first set, and I played a pretty perfect tiebreak, so I’m really happy about that. Paula Badosa

Badosa, the World No 4, beat Gauff, 7-6(4) 6-2, twice recovering from a break down in the opening set to reach her 4th semi-final of the year.

18-year-old Gauff, who reached her maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open this year, was coming off an impressive straight sets win over former World No 1 Naomi Osaka on Thursday night.

The 6th-seeded American appeared to be continuing that rich vein of form into the her contest with Badosa, emerging from an exchange of 3 breaks of serve with a 3-2 lead in the opening set on the way to a 5-3 advantage.

Badosa held serve, though, and Gauff unravelled as she served for the set, coughing up 3 double-faults to drop the game as they headed into the tiebreak, which the American surrendered with another pair of double-faults.

Looking rattled Gauff dropped her opening service game of the second set, and Badosa, who won 9 straight points to go up 2-0, raced out to a 5-1 lead before serving out the match with confidence, a couple of games later.

The Spaniard finished with 17 winners to 15 unforced errors, converting half of her 8 break chances as Gauff’s 29 unforced errors outpaced her 21 winners.

“It’s never easy to start against such an aggressive player with a big serve,” Badosa said. “I think I adapted pretty well in the [end] of the first set, and I played a pretty perfect tiebreak, so I’m really happy about that.”

Badosa, who reached her 4th semi-final of 2022, will be taking on Kasatkina for the 3rd time, with both prior meetings coming earlier this year when the Spaniard won in Sydney in January, but the Russian triumphed on the clay in Rome.

“She’s winning a lot of matches, she’s winning against the best players in the world, she’s doing an amazing year,” Badosa said.

Kasatkina, a 2021 finalist here, came from behind to take out Sabalenka, 4-6 7-5 6-0, in 2 hours and 23 minutes, with the Belarusian 4th seed affected by an injury late in the match, and producing 22 double-faults in the process.

Daria Kasatkina came from a set down to defeat an injured Aryna Sabalenka, and will meet Paula Badosa in the semi-final on Saturday

© Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Meanwhile, 9th-seeded Kudermetova maintained her perfect record against Jabeur, topping the Wimbledon runner-up, 7-6(5) 6-2, on Friday.

Kudermetova took the opening 3 games of the second set, and led 5-1 before holding off the Tunisian after an hour and 41 minutes.

“I know Ons is a very tricky opponent,” Kudermetova said. “I really worked hard today, and I’m really happy about my win.”

The Russian has reached the semi-finals in both the singles and doubles, and now has won all 3 of her meetings against Jabeur in straight sets.

In their latest meeting, Kudermetova’s 30 winners were almost double 5th-ranked Jabeur’s 17, and included 6 aces.

“I remember her game, her tactics, and I tried to just play my game,” Kudermetova said. “I tried to focus on my plan because I know I needed to play fast, don’t give her any time for a drop shot or slice.”

Jabeur, who has been playing without her coach in San Jose, focused less on a tactical plan and more on keeping herself positive.

“Big history with her because I [haven’t won] in front of her before,” Jabeur said, when asked about her mind-set going into the match. “I was trying to maintain a great level mentally.

“I was really satisfied with the way I played in the first set. I just think it shifted in certain points.

“Honestly, I felt like I tried everything in the first set. … I couldn’t blame myself a lot because she played her points.”

Plus, Kudermetova’s powerful serve  had Jabeur stumped.

“It’s tough to play someone that serves really good,” Jabeur said. “You can win a point and you’re a great, making the effort, and it is an ace after, but I was trying to talk to myself more tactically than mentally, to try to find more solutions.”

Kudermetova double-faulted 4 times, but 6 aces balanced out her service game and allowed her to win 65.8% of her first-serve points.

As a Russian, Kudermetova could not to participate at Wimbledon, and said the rest and extra training time may have been another advantage over the Wimbledon finalist.

“I worked really hard every day, like I die on the court,” Kudermetova said. “I came back on the tour much stronger.”

A few miscues from Jabeur also helped as the 3rd-seed struggled with her toss and double-faulted, 1 of 4 coming in the first set tiebreak, and then contributing to Kudermetova’s 5-2 lead.

Veronika Kudermetova maintained her dominance of Ons Jabeur , winning in straight sets to make the semi-finals at the Spartan Tennis Complex in San Jose

© Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

For a place in the final, Kudermetova will face Shelby Rogers, who saw off her American compatriot Amanda Anisimova, 6-4 6-4, in the night match, improving their head-to-head record to 3-0.

Ranked 45th, Rogers has not lost a set in 3 matches this week, while only dropping 18 games, as she toppled World No 3 Maria Sakkari, the top seed from Greece, in straight sets to reach the quarter-finals.

She opened the tournament with a win over former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, and has yet to be broken this week.

“I know [the match] will be good, aggressively paced,” Kudermetova said ahead of their encounter. “They both have good serves. But I already have a plan.”

Kudermetova and Rogers have played twice previously, splitting their two meetings, with the Russian winning in straight sets in Miami this year, while the American triumphed, also in two, in Adelaide last year.

Shelby Rogers, who has yet to drop a set this week, beat Amanda Anisimova in the San Jose quarters

© Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

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