Tennis

Family Circle Cup: Top seeds fall flat

No. 2 and No. 3 seeds upset in quarterfinals

The Associated PressApril 4, 2014 

Charleston Tennis

Canada's Eugenie Bouchard runs to the ball while playing against Serbia's Jelena Jankovic during the Family Circle Cup quarterfinals Friday.

MIC SMITH — AP

  • Friday’s Results

    Purse: $710,000 (Premier)

    Surface: Green Clay-Outdoor

    Singles Quarterfinals

    Eugenie Bouchard (6), Canada, def. Jelena Jankovic (2), Serbia, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

    Andrea Petkovic (14), Germany, def. Lucie Safarova (9), Czech Republic, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.

    Belinda Bencic, Switzerland, def. Sara Errani (3), Italy, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

    Jana Cepelova, Slovakia, def. Daniela Hantuchova (12), Slovakia, 6-2, 6-1.

— It proved tough to be a top seed at the Family Circle Cup this week.

No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic and No. 3 seed Sara Errani were both upset Friday in the quarterfinals, leaving sixth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard as the lone top-10 seed left in the semifinals.

Jankovic fell to Bouchard 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to start the round of eight before 17-year-old qualifier Belinda Bencic pulled off an even bigger shocker by eliminating Errani, a runner-up at the French Open in 2012.

Bencic, who had to win twice last weekend simply to make the field, took over in the final two sets for a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory over the 26-year-old Italian. Bencic hadn’t made it past the second round in two previous WTA events this year and wasn’t expecting to advance to her first tour semifinals

“I was hoping for it, and I was believing in me that it would come,” she said. “Yeah, I’m just really happy it came this week.”

Bencic is the first qualifier to advance this far at the Family Circle, an event where at least one of the top four seeds has reached the semifinals the previous 10 years. On Saturday, she’ll face unseeded Slovakian Jana Cepelova, who pulled off a final surprise when she easily beat 12th-seeded countrywoman Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1.

Cepelova had defeated world No. 1 and two-time defending Family Circle champion Serena Williams on Tuesday night to start off a week of upsets.

Either Bencic or Cepelova will be the first unseeded player in the finals since 2011 when Elena Vesnina lost the championship to Caroline Wozniacki.

Errani looked confident and in control in the first set before getting overwhelmed by Bencic, who won 12 of the final 15 games. Errani talked to herself and even threw down her racket as Bencic’s crisp shots clipped lines and moved out of reach.

Earlier, Bouchard rallied in the third set by winning five of the final six games to oust Jankovic, a past champion who came in ranked eighth in the world.

The 20-year-old Canadian reached the semifinals at a WTA tour event for the second time this season and fifth in her career.

On Saturday, she plays 14th-seeded Andrea Petkovic as she seeks her first title – something Bouchard thinks she’s more than ready for.

“Every time I go into a tournament now and every match, I always believe I can win,” she said.

Petkovic topped ninth-seeded Lucie Safarova 6-3, 1-6, 6-1. The 26-year-old German, ranked 40th in the world, had struggled in recent events.

So Petkovic was pleased to shake off Safarova in the final set and advance to weekend play.

“I’m used to winning at least two, three matches and then losing to the top players, but it was a really tough few weeks for me in the past,” she said. “So now I’m just really, really happy and kind of relieved.”

Cepelova said the win over Serena Williams gave her a boost of energy she’s carried throughout the work. “Playing against Serena I really learned so much and every match gave me more confidence,” she said.

Bouchard made it to the Australian Open semifinals this year, losing to eventual champion Li Na. In her only WTA final, she lost to Sam Stosur in Osaka in October.

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