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Barty beats Kvitova to set up last four clash with surprising Badosa

MADRID (Agencies): Ashleigh Barty will take on Paula Badosa in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open after beating Petra Kvitova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 on Wednesday.

World number one Barty is chasing her fourth singles title of the year after her triumph in Stuttgart 10 days ago. In the last four she faces the woman who knocked her out in the quarter-finals in Charleston in early April.

On Wednesday, the Australian came out on top against two-time Wimbledon champion and 2015 and 2018 Madrid winner Kvitova. The match appeared settled when Barty 3-0 ahead in the deciding set. Kvitova broke back in game five to close to 3-2. But, after saving two break points, she lost her serve for a second time in the set in game six.

Barty then saved three break points on her way to going 5-2 up and held again two games later to see out the match. Wild card Badosa became the first Spanish woman in the tournament’s 12-year history to make the semis with her 6-4, 7-5 win over eighth seed Belinda Bencic. The 23-year-old’s win over the world number 11 was her third against a player in the top 20 following her victories over Bencic and Barty in her run to the semi-finals in Charleston. Badosa kissed the clay court in celebration of a win that will shoot the world number 62 up the WTA rankings.

In the men’s draw, second seed Daniil Medvedev, returning to the circuit afer testing positive for Covid-19 in mid-April, picked up his first win on clay for two years when he came back from a set down to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Russian has always struggled on clay. In four attempts, he has failed to get past the first round of the French Open. Nor has he won a match in Rome while this was his first win in Madrid in his third appearance.

“I love clay,” he said ironically into the camera at the end of the match. In total, the 2021 Australian Open finalist has only 11 wins on the surface although he will have the chance to make that 12 when he takes on Christian Garin in last 16.

Fifth seed Alexander Zverev swept past Kei Nishikori in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. World number nine Diego Schwartzman was dumped out by Aslan Karatsev 2-6, 6-4, 6-1. Russian Karatsev will take on Alexander Bublik in the next round.

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