French Open champ Krejcikova saves 7 match points to advance

(AP Photo/Refugio Ruiz)

SYDNEY (AP) French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova saved seven match points to beat Anett Kontaveit 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (12) on Friday and advance to the Sydney Tennis Classic final.

The match between world No. 3 Krejcikova and No. 4 Kontaveit lived up to its billing just days before the start of the Australian Open on Monday.

Kontaveit dominated early to take the first set in 28 minutes before Krejcikova took charge of the second and won the marathon tiebreaker in the third.

"I just planned to fight more and just try to stay in the match and I felt that `at some point I'm going to get my chances and it's important to convert them," Krejcikova said in her on-court interview. "She was playing really aggressive and with my game, with playing more consistent, it just wasn't working.

"So I had to find a Plan B and I'm really happy that I found a Plan B and then I think it was a wonderful match."

Kontaveit had three match points on Krejcikova's serve when leading 6-5 in the third set but the Czech player came back under pressure, defending all three, then held serve to force the match to a tiebreaker.

Krejcikova earned two match points at 6-4 in the tiebreaker, but Kontaveit saved both. Krejcikova converted her fifth match point to seal the memorable victory.

Earlier Friday, Alison Riske advanced to what will be an all-American final of a WTA tournament in Adelaide after her semifinal opponent Tamara Zidansek withdrew to hand Riske a walkover.

The fourth-seeded Zidansek didn't make it on to the court at the Adelaide International due to an abdominal injury. It was the second straight match that Riske's opponent had withdrawn, with fellow American Madison Brengle retiring at 3-3 in the first set with a calf injury in the quarterfinals.

Two other Americans, Coco Gauff and Madison Keys, meet in the other semifinal later Friday for the chance to take on Riske in the title decider on Saturday.

The 57th-ranked Riske, who upset Ash Barty at Wimbledon in 2019 en route to the quarterfinals, is looking for her fourth WTA career title. Her best result in the Australian Open came in 2020 when she reached the fourth round.

In men's play at Adelaide, Arthur Rinderknech advanced to his first ATP final with a 6-1, 6-3 win over French countryman Corentin Moutet. Rinderknech will face either Australian wild-card entry Thanasai Kokkinakis or fourth-seeded Marin Cilic, who played their semifinal later Friday.

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Updated January 14, 2022