TOP SEED LISICKI SAFELY THROUGH TO SEMI-FINALS OF PRUDENTIAL HONG KONG TENNIS OPEN
(Hong Kong, 12 September 2014) – German top seed Sabine Lisicki was kept up late on Friday night at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open by feisty Chinese Zheng Saisai as well as numerous rain delays before she managed to reach the last four in the US$250,000 WTA International event.
Lisicki who came to Hong Kong “inspired” after meeting countrymen and soccer World Cup heroes Phillip Lahm and Miroslav Klose during Germany’s return match with Argentina at home last week, was pushed all the way by China’s fast-rising 20-year-old Zheng who fought determinedly before capitulating 6-4, 6-3.
Wild card entry Lisicki, who is the world No. 31 and is the highest-ranked player in the tournament, struggled to overcome Zheng whose speed around the court won her the admiration of the fans at Victoria Park who braved the frequent stoppages due to rain to watch an enthralling encounter.
An impatient approach by the 24-year-old Lisicki led to her downfall on many occasions as she made unforced errors trying to finish off a rally with a winner. This allowed Zheng into the match but the German still proved too strong to run out a winner after 82 minutes.
“I have been inspired by the fighting spirit of my country’s football team at the World Cup. What they did this summer was really great and I hope I can win when things are tough,” said Lisicki earlier in the tournament.
And on Friday night she did just that as she dug deep to finish off a quarterfinal match stretched by bad weather and a stubborn opponent. Zheng saved match point breaking her opponent’s serve trailing 2-5, 30-40 in the second set, but then dropped her next service game to bow out.
Lisicki will now meet former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the semi-finals. The Italian defeated seventh seed Jana Cepelova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2, to enter the last four.