Pictures, article and podcast by Giulio Gasparin (@giuliogasparin)
Following the heavy rain that forced organizers to move to Friday the only round 2 match left to be finished, the day in Bad Gastein was not exceptionally sunny, but at least no rain hit the courts until the very last point was played.
The program of the day opened with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Annika Beck on centre court, with the Slovak having no troubles capturing her 8th consecutive win, following her victorious run in Bucharest. In the meantime, on court 1 another winning streak was coming to an end as Karin Knapp defeated in straight sets Johanna Larsson, who had just captured her first WTA title on the home soil of Bastad. The two played a nice match to decide who would play in the quarter finals later in the day, however, the Swede gained extra respect from the crowd in the first set, when on her first break point of the match, down 4-0, one shot from Knapp was called long and the Italian without complaining was walking to the chair, but Larsson stood there and told the umpire the ball was good so the game was not over.
The Swede broke back and got very close to closing the gap, but on 4-3 she suffered another break and then the Italian managed to close. The second set saw Larsson starting with a new attitude as she flew 3-0 up and had several break points to take a four game lead, however, Knapp managed to hold her serve and eventually turn the set around and close 6-3 6-3.
All easy for Sam Stosur on her quarter final’s match against Danka Kovinic. The two played only a few weeks ago at Wimbledon, when the Australian won in straight sets, but with both preferring clay over grass, this match was expected to be of a higher quality and so it was. The Montenegrin left a very good impression despite the 6-3 6-2 loss, thanks to her big serve and powerful forehand, but it was the second seed to excel in both fundamentals, especially with her serve, having faced no break points throughout the match.
It was a much harder task for the first seed Sara Errani, who no longer than a day before had to save a break point in order to advance to the quarter finals, but if today she did not come close to losing her match against young and talented Russian Darya Kasatkina, she needed all of her energy and skills to take home the three set marathon. After almost two hours and a half, the Italian closed 6-3 3-6 6-2 securing a semifinal spot against compatriot Knapp.
The girl from Brunico, after the victorious first match of the morning, needed another tough match to advance to her third semifinal in as many appearances in Bad Gastein. Knapp needed two gutsy come backs in both sets to defeat Slovenian Polona Hercog 7-6(5) 7-5, as the girl from Maribor led 5-2 in the first set, 4-1 in the tiebreak and 4-1 in the second.
Following you can hear the words from the protagonists of the day in our daily podcast.