Barthel and Flipkens advance into semis, defending champ exits Quebec

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Kirsten Flipkens and Mona Barthel march on at Challenge Bell in Quebec as they finish off their quarterfinal opponents in straight sets.

After excelling in the first two matches, beating top seed Cibulkova in the process, Flipkens took on Georgian Anna Takishvili in quarterfinal. World No. 102 Belgian gave away the openings sets in her previous encounters, but was convincing from the very beginning this time. She lost only two points while serving in the first set and posed a constant threat to Takisvhili’s service games. Flipkens thus first took a 3-0 lead and ultimately wrapped up the opener with a second break, converting her first set point. We were in for more of the same in the set two as 26-year-old Flipkens snatched an early break once again. At that point Takishvili withdrew from the clash with a low back injury. The result: 6-2, 3-0 ret.

Likewise, third seed German Barthel is growing in confidence as the tournament goes on. Defending champion Zahlavova Strycova barely stood a chance against the German who was generating one break point after another and found herself 5-0 up in the first set. Sixth-seeded Czech then started to show signs of life as she reduced her rival’s lead by winning three consecutive games, nevertheless Barthel  served out the set calmly. The second set was hardly any different from the opener. Barthel achieved a two-break cushion by 5-1, then gave Zahlavova Strycova some lifeline by losing a serve herself, but stayed concentrated enough to convert the second match point and defeat her Czech opponent for the third time in a row. End score: 6-3, 6-4.

Flipkens and Barthel will now meet in the semis. On paper the German is supposed to be a favorite, yet her unseeded challenger will be looking to extend her winning streak and come closer to fulfilling the WTA title dream.

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