2 seed Maria Scari took revenge on 6 seed Daria Kasatkina in the bett1open quarter-final, winning 6-0 6-3 in just 72 minutes.
Sakkari Kasatkina was unbeaten in four previous matches, including 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of Madrid last month. However, the pair had never played on grass before, and the 26-year-old used the smooth surface to her advantage to further her aggressive strategy.
Striving to dominate each rally as quickly as possible, Scary quickly sensed any chance of finishing points with a forehand or at the net. As a result, she scored 27 winners against just seven for Kasatkina, while also keeping her non-forced foul countdown to 16 compared to Kasatkina’s 11.
Fittingly, she put the Greek result into her first semi-final of her career on grass. It’s also her fourth semi-finalist on the 2022 Hologic WTA Tour and the first since she reached the Indian Wells final in March.
Match management: Fourteen of the Scary winners came during an almost flawless opening set. I saved the two break points I encountered and prevented Kasatkina from making it to the game point to hold any of her service games.
The 12th-ranked Kasatkina late found her aggressive forehand in the second set, and fought twice to tie the score from a meltdown. But with the group poised to score 3-3, Scary held his ground. Scary found her biggest returns when she needed them, and came with four draws to break them again with a 4-3 score.
It was a similar story because Kasatkina served to stay in the match. Roland Garros’ semi-finalist delivery faltered again, with two double faults in this game bringing her total to five. The last of those to bring in a third match point for Scari, which turned after a deep comeback caused a foul with a forehand from Katakina.
In Scary’s words: “The first set was close to perfect. I was very disciplined in picking shots, with my game in general. I always struggled to play against it, obviously, but today I was very decisive. I decided what to do and just went for it.
“The grass pitch suits my game – of course, because I’ve improved the transmission, but I’m a very good mover and that plays a big part on this surface.”
Benchik awaits: In the semi-finals, Sakkari will play 8th seed Belinda Bencic, who defeated Veronika Kudremetova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 after two hours and 15 minutes of play.
Scari won her only previous professional encounter against Bencic in three sets, which came on the indoor hard courts in Saint Petersburg in 2020.
Bencic, last year’s runner-up, lost to Kudermetova just last week in the quarter-finals of s-Hertogenbosch. But Bencic avenged that defeat on Friday to advance 5-4 in her head-to-head encounter with Kudremetova.
Last year’s Olympic champion, Bencic, converted six of 11 break points to outlast Kudermetova, despite hitting seven double faults. Bencic also withstood six aces from Kudermetova.
Splitting the first two sets, Bencic dominated the break to 5-2, but failed to convert two match points on her serve in that match. Kudermetova held two match points with a 5-3 score to finish at one break, but Bencic eventually triumphed on her fourth match point to seal the victory.