French Open champ Krejcikova saves 7 match points to advance

National Sports

SYDNEY (AP)French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova saved seven match points before beating Anett Kontaveit 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (12) Friday to advance to the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic, one of several warmup tournaments for next week’s Australian Open.

The fourth-ranked Kontaveit dominated early before Krejcikova, ranked third, took charge in the second and held on through the tiebreaker.

”I just planned to fight more and just try to stay in the match and I felt that at some point I’m going to get my chances and it’s important to convert them,” Krejcikova said in her on-court interview. ”She was playing really aggressive and with my game, with playing more consistent, it just wasn’t working.

”So I had to find a Plan B and I’m really happy that I found a Plan B and then I think it was a wonderful match.”

Kontaveit had three match points on Krejcikova’s serve when leading 6-5 in the third set but the Czech player defended all three, then held serve to force the tiebreaker.

Krejcikova earned two match points at 6-4 in the tiebreaker, but Kontaveit saved both. Krejcikova converted her fifth match point to seal the win.

Krejcikova will play Paula Badosa in Saturday’s final. The ninth-ranked Spaniard beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2.

In the men’s semifinals in Sydney, Andy Murray reached his first ATP Tour final in more than two years by beating Reilly Opelka 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4.

”It would be amazing to start the year with a win,” the 34-year-old Murray said in his on-court interview. ”To string four matches together like this, against a couple of top players in Nikoloz Basilashvili (in the quarterfinals) and Opelka (has been good).”

Earlier, Alison Riske advanced to what will be an all-American final in Adelaide after semifinal opponent Tamara Zidansek withdrew.

The fourth-seeded Zidansek didn’t make it onto the court at the Adelaide International because of an abdominal injury. It was the second straight match that Riske’s opponent had withdrawn, with Madison Brengle retiring at 3-3 in the first set with a calf injury in the quarterfinals.

Riske will meet Madison Keys in Saturday’s final. Keys beat Coco Gauff 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

The 57th-ranked Riske, who upset Ash Barty at Wimbledon in 2019 en route to the quarterfinals, is looking for her fourth WTA title. Her best result in the Australian Open came in 2020 when she reached the fourth round.

In men’s play, Arthur Rinderknech advanced to his first ATP final with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Corentin Moutet.

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