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Gauff defeats former number one Pliskova to reach Berlin semifinals

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BERLIN: Teenager Coco Gauff reached her first WTA grass-court semifinal after posting a straight sets win over former world number one Karolina Pliskova in Berlin on Friday.

The 18-year-old American, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open earlier this month, sealed a 7-5, 6-4 win over fourth seed Pliskova.

"It took me a while to find my rhythm, the forehand slice isn't something I use a lot, but I did today'', said Gauff.

"Her shots were pretty low on the grass and sometimes it was enough to change the direction of the point."

In Saturday's semifinals, Gauff will face top seed Ons Jabeur who defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2.

Jabeur had to come back from a set and a break down to earn her third win in three meetings against Sasnovich.

Second seed Maria Sakkari also reached her first grass-court semifinal after brushing past Daria Kasatkina for a 6-0, 6-3 victory in just 72 minutes.

Sakkari will face Belinda Bencic after the Swiss Olympic champion rallied to beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in their hard-fought tie, which lasted just over two hours.

Bencic had to dig deep and despite hitting seven double faults, she held off Kudermetova, who fired down six aces. — AFP

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