Giorgi claims another scalp as Eastbourne tennis week action hots up
Qualifier Camila Giorgi stunned the Viking International Eastbourne crowds as she defeated World No.4 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.
Giorgi – who has already defeated former champion Karolina Pliskova this week – was kicked into life after Sabalenka cruised to an early break to love in the opening game.
The Italian’s movement around the court caused Sabalenka problems all day and she managed to break her opponent four times in the final set to complete the upset of the tournament.
“I think it was a great match. I was very consistent, was a very good level – at the end was I think more mental than the game,” she said after the match.
“I think it's very good to play many matches, especially in that period of the year. So I think this helps, and especially it can improve my game.”
Giorgi will face Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the semi-finals, who came from a set down to defeat Viktorija Golubic 2-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5 in a highly entertaining match on Court 1.
“I felt like I really had to fight for everything,” said Kontaveit. “I think she played great. I think her game style really suits the grass, so it was very difficult.
“But I felt like I sort of stuck with her in the second set and then managed to, you know, get a few good points. It was just so close. Everything was on edge very much. Yeah, very happy to get through that tough match and be in the semifinals.”
Meanwhile, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko dazzled the crowds with her attacking flair as she too came from a set behind to clinch a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Daria Kasatkina. Ostapenko hit 38 winners en route to her second semi-final of the year. Explaining what made the difference in the match the Latvian explained:
“The main thing probably I was playing more aggressive today and tried to put as much pressure as possible on her. I mean, obviously not in the first set, but in the second set I was fighting very hard to win it. I think in the third set I already found my game and played much better.”
The former quarter finalist and semi finalist at Wimbledon and a wild card in Eastbourne she explained her feelings for grass:
“Honestly, I get very excited, but when it starts I get very sad because it's very short, the grass season. It's only like three, four tournaments maximum. I wish it could be longer, because I love to play on grass.”
Elena Rybakina secured the last semi final spot in a late night marathon win over Anastasija Sevastova 26 76(7) 76(5) in 2 hours 30 minutes.
In the men’s draw, third seed Lorenzo Sonego put in an impressive performance to beat Alexander Bublik 6-1, 7-5.
In the semi-finals he will play Australia’s Max Purcell who produced another shock result, defeating Andreas Seppi 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Purcell only won his first tour match earlier this year but the lucky loser has been on fire this week having already beaten top seed Gael Monfils en route to the last four. On making his first ATP Tour semi final the Australian said:
“I'm over the moon. I managed to get through my last three main-draw matches after being a break down in the third set, which in itself is pretty hard to break back and win the match, especially on a surface where it's so hard to return. But I'm really pumped, and I still have two more matches to get the job done.”
Completing the men’s semi-finals are Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who is on a phenomenal run after coming in as the fifth lucky loser, and second seed Alex de Minaur, who came through in two sets against Vasek Pospisil. De Minaur is another player who enjoys this time of year on grass, he said:
“Obviously this is a part of the season which I look forward to every single year, and I feel like I have been able to gradually improve and play better and better tennis.
“Very happy with where my game is at. You know, obviously the big goal is always going to be to try and go as deep as I can at Wimby.”
Britain’s Joe Salisbury and his partner Rajeev Ram have reached the final of the men’s doubles after winning back-to-back matches on the same day. In the semi-finals they put up an excellent display to beat second seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-0, 6-7 (0), 10-6.
They will play the in-form Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic – who defeated the British American duo in the final in Rome this year – for a shot at the title.
QF - [Q] C. Giorgi (ITA) d.  A. Sabalenka (BLR) 76(5) 06 64
QF - A. Kontaveit (EST) d. [Q] V. Golubic (SUI) 26 76(2) 75
QF - [WC] J. Ostapenko (LAT) d. D. Kasatkina (RUS) 16 75 62
QF - E. Rybakina (KAZ) d. [LL] A. Sevastova (LAT) 26 76(7) 76(5)
QF -  L.Sonego (ITA) d. Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 61 75
QF - [LL] M. Purcell (AUS) d. Andreas Seppi (ITA) 64 16 64
QF - [LL] S. Kwon (KOR) d. [Q] I. Ivashka (BLR) 64 75
QF -  A. De Minaur (AUS) d. V. Pospisil (CAN) 64 64