New Haven, Connecticut, Aug 26: China's Li Na endured several hours of rain delays and three sets of tennis Thursday before advancing to the semifinals of the New Haven Open with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The match was supposed to be played at 1 p.m., but didn't start until after 3:30 p.m. and was stopped for more than two hours after the first set because of rain at the Connecticut Tennis Center.
When it finally resumed, Pavlyuchenkova grabbed the momentum, winning four games in a row to go up 4-2, and eventually take the set.
Li broke the Russian to go up 1-0 in the third, and the tournament's second seed finished off the match after Pavlyuchenkova twisted her right ankle in the second game of the set and needed a medical timeout.
“I think today is the longest match I ever played,” Li said. “I think I was warmed up a hundred times already. Like because after the rain stop, you have to warm up again.”
She will play Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska who beat fourth-seed Marion Bartoli 7-5, 7-5 on the grandstand court in another rain-delayed match.
Cetkovska was down 5-4 in each set before rallying to break Bartoli in the 11th game of each and serving out the win.
“I was trying to be even more concentrated because at these moments, always the end of the sets, these moments are the key moments,” she said. “I tried to do the best, tried not to miss anything, not to give any single point.”
Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain withdrew from the tournament, a day after injuring her right knee during a win over Elena Vesnina of Russia.
Medina Garrigues, who was looking for her third tournament title this season, fell to the ground and grabbed her knee after failing to convert a third match point in the second set of her 6-2, 7-6 (5) win Wednesday over Elena Vesnina.
After a brief medical delay, she continued with the match, winning in a tiebreaker.
She said the decision to withdraw was precautionary and she expects to play in next week's U.S. Open.
“It's not so bad,” she said. “But, it's very uncomfortable because it's painful for the situation.”
Her withdrawal moves third-seeded Francesca Schiavone into Friday's semifinals, where she will play either top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki or 19-year-old American Christina McHale.
Those two played later Thursday, with Wozniacki looking to improve her record in New Haven to 15-0. The world's top-ranked player is the tournament's three-time defending champion.
McHale, the only American in the draw, is playing in just the second quarterfinal of her young career. AP