Semifinals are set at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo: Nadia Petrova vs. Sam Stosur and Angelique Kerber vs. Agnieszka Radwanska.
Nadia Petrova was the first to advance, with a massive 3-6 7-5 6-3 win over Sara Errani in two hours and 36 minutes. The Russian actually won one point less than her opponent in the tense match (101 to Errani’s 102), but saved 7 of 12 break points, while Errani saved 7 of 13.
The encounter of Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur followed. Both started strongly, with 100% of first serves won up to 2-2 40-15 for Stosur in the first set. However, there was an exchange of breaks for 4-4 and it was Stosur who held her serve then and broke Sharapova again in the end, for a perfect conversion of break points and 6-4.
In the second set, Sharapova was the first to go up a break, but Stosur came back and built a 5-3 lead to serve for the match. The victory was still far away, though. Sharapova broke to love and won all the remaining games until the tiebreak, which proved to be painfully long, as Stosur recorded an unforced error after an unforced error on her match points, finally winning on her fifth one 6-4 7-6(10), in the tiebreak which proved to be the longest in Sharapova’s career and the longest that Stosur has ever won.
The third semifinalist was determined prematurely, as top seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew with dizziness ahead of her encounter with Angelique Kerber. The world No.1 has been having health issues since arriving in Japan and during her third-round win she had to have her blood pressure checked. Kerber’s semifinal opponent will be Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)