Red Group’s Stephens, Bertens advance to Singapore semifinals

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Friday’s RR3 at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global was significantly shorter than previous rounds, as Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens moved into the semifinals with their two matches together lasting less than two and a half hours.

The fifth-seeded Stephens tops the Red Group with perfect 3-0 record in round-robin stage on her tournament debut. Today the American defeated top seed Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3, which is her fifth consecutive straight-set victory over the German. The top-seeded Kerber won just 33% of points on second serve and converted only two out of 10 break points, including zero out of seven at the start of the match.

Third seed Naomi Osaka had to retire from her match against late entrant Kiki Bertens, ending her tournament debut without a single win. Trailing 5-3 in the first set, Osaka took a medical timeout because of a left hamstring injury she picked up in her first match and one game later the reigning US Open champion gave up.

The semifinal line-up in Singapore is now complete, as Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova made the final four on Thursday. Saturday’s semifinal play will open with Bertens vs. Svitolina, followed by Pliskova vs. Stephens.

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