Published: Tue, August 20, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Barty within one win of returning to No.1

Barty within one win of returning to No.1

Barty lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Saturday.

Barty again had to overcome a sloppy first set where she led 5-2 before dropping the set to Greece's Maria Sakkari 5-7.

Last week in Toronto, Kenin knocked off Barty on her way to the last four, allowing Osaka to jump ahead of Barty for No.1.

Kuznetsova, coming back in recent weeks from wrist problems which included surgery, was unable to play last month in Washington due to United States visa problems.

Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Pliskova was broken.

Kuznetsova dominated a tiebreaker and took charge in the third set as Pliskova began to fade.

"If there is a 1 percent chance of me not playing it, that's what's concerning me". Williams also struggled with her serve, specifically her second serve, winning only 35% of her second serve points.

"I told myself to wait for the opportunities".

Kuznetsova, who trained as a teen in Barcelona, has returned to her Spanish tennis roots, re-hiring former coach Carlos Martinez, who has also worked with Spaniards Feliciano Lopez, Fernando Vicente and Rafael Nadal's occasional doubles partner Marc Lopez.

"I'm back now and feeling no pressure".

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Osaka had won the second set to level the match and was down a game in the third when she was seen by the trainer for almost 10 minutes.

"I must admit, I did enjoy the time at home in Moscow, sleeping in my own bed". "I'm not thinking of the ranking at all. I tried to bring in my slice to change the tempo of the match".

"We're excited to be in new territory here in Cincy".

Barty has been truly clinical this season and her form needs no introduction.

"This isn't the way I wanted to win", Kenin said in a courtside interview.

"I'm really happy", Kuznetsova said, in her post-match press conference.

The French Open champion will want to work on those first sets.

"The thing is, my pain tolerance is really high, so that's usually why I play through things that apparently I shouldn't". "It's not fair to her to just withdraw, because I feel like I'm bowing out", the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) quoted Osaka as saying. I never thought I'd be back to this level so quickly. Barty defeated Sakkari with 29 winners and breaks on six of 14 chances over an hour and 45 minutes.

Kuznetsova reached her first semi-final of the season by beating third-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6 7-6 (2) 6-3.

The 33-year-old Frenchman, who had lost seven consecutive ATP Masters quarter-finals since Miami in 2013, will play for a spot in the final against Belgian 16th seed David Goffin, who advanced by walkover against Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, who could not take the court due to illness.

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