ASB Classic Semifinal Showdown with Pennetta, Kuznetsova, Kerber and Zheng

by Stephanie Neppl, Special for Tennis Grandstand

What a week we’ve had at the 2012 ASB Classic! One of the best fields in tournament history has been narrowed down to just four players: a German (but not the top seed Sabine Lisicki as expected), an Italian, a Chinese (but not the #2 seed Peng Shuai)  and a Russian.

To get us to this stage of the tournament, we’ve survived numerous rain delays which have done their best to complicate life for the players and organisers. One entire day of qualifying was moved inside, only one night session began on time and many matches had to change courts to accommodate the rain delays.

All that is a blur now as there are just two days to go. Today Lisicki injured herself during warm-up and battled hard against fellow German Angelique Kerber but she was forced to withdraw during the second set. It was not the ending she wanted, but the smiley Lisicki was hopeful the injury won’t affect her play at the Australian Open coming up later this month.

Sabine Lisicki

“I hope it’s nothing too bad,” she said. “I hope I’ll recover quickly and that a couple of days off will  be enough. I’m just hoping for the best.”

The highest seed remaining is Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. The two-time grand slam winner has the goods but has lacked consistency for most of her career. She’s looked good in Auckland and hasn’t dropped a set in her run to the semifinals.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

After her win over Christina McHale in the second round, Kuznetsova was asked if she thought she could improve on her career high #2 ranking. “I think I can do better. It’s definitely in my potential.” She will now face surprise semifinalist Zheng Jie of China who has won her past two rounds with ease.

The other semifinal is a repeat of a US Open quarterfinal match between Flavia Pennetta and Angelique Kerber. The Italian made the final in her last visit to the ASB Classic and will be keen to redeem herself after the German won that grand slam match to reach the semifinals.

Stay updated and catch all the great action at the ASB Classic!

(All photos ©

Stephanie Neppl is the Social Media Manager for Tennis Auckland covering the ASB Classic and Heineken Open. She is the author of the website I Have a Tennis Addiction and you can follow her on twitter @StephInNZ for further updates.

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