Sharipova joins Turks in singles semis

20 May 2017

Uzbekistan's women's number one Sabina Sharipova joined four Turkish players in the semi-finals of the Islamic Solidarity Games singles tournaments in Baku on Saturday.

Anil Yuksel saw off Jurabek Karimov 6-4, 6-4 in the men's last eight, before Berfu Cengiz thrashed Malaysia's Jawairiah Noordin 6-1, 6-0 on Centre Court at the Baku Tennis Academy in the women's quarter-finals.

Sharipova eased into the semis by beating Turkmenistan's Jahan Bayramova 6-2, 6-1, to set up an enticing clash against Cengiz.

Yuksel, 27, edged a tight opening set against his youthful 18-year-old opponent, who reached the final of the juniors at the Australian Open last year.

Serve dominated for the majority of the second, but the world number 524 Yuksel found the decisive break in game nine and served it out to complete the win in just over an hour.

Yuksel will next face Qatar's Mubarak Zayid, who battled past Amirvala Madanchi of Iran 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), in the third Centre-Court encounter.

Zayid missed a match point as the deciding set went to a tie-break, during which he was given a code violation for launching a volley of abuse at the umpire and kicking the net.

But he composed himself to come back from 5-2 down and win the match with five points in a row.

Moroccan Amine Ahouda also reached the men's semis with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Uganda's Duncan Mugabe on Court One, and will play another Turk, Altug Celikbilek, next after he brushed aside Sergey Fomin 6-3, 6-2.

The second match on the main court was even more one-sided than the first, although Cengiz did fail to serve out the opening set for a bagel.

But the 17-year-old broke at the next opportunity to take a one-set lead.

Noordin, who reached a career-high ranking of 931st eight years ago, was totally out of her depth and fell to a comprehensive defeat in under an hour as Cengiz did seal a bagel at the second attempt.

The world number 139 Sharipova showed why she is the highest-ranked player in the competition out on Court One with a professional dispatching of Bayramova that lasted just 50 minutes.

The two women will meet again later on Saturday on the same court with a spot in the doubles final at stake.

Oman's Fatma Al Nabhani booked her semi-final spot with a 6-2, 7-6 victory over Noordin's teammate Theviya Selva-Rajoo, and will play Turkey's fourth representative, Ayla Aksu, for a place in the final, after she won 7-5, 6-2 against Uzbekistan's Komola Umarova.

© AFP Services

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