Three out of four top seeds and the last year's reigning champion advanced into semifinals of the WTA 500 Mubadala DC Citi Open. The home crowd can cheer for the two top ranked US players on the road to the all-American final after their valuable victories over top notch opponents in Friday's quarterfinals. Interestingly, only one of the matches during whole second round and quarterfinals got ended up in three-sets. All the others where quite one-sided straight sets shows.
Pegula regains the world's number three
The Ukrainian started the match well by winning the opening set, where Pegula was quite erratic and did not create any danger during Svitolina's service games. The set was decided by just one breakpoints created and converted by Svitolina in 5th game. The second one started better for Pegula, who earned the early lead by gaining her first break of the match in second game. The American was holding her serves with a good confidence to force a decider. Both players traded two sets between them with just two breakpoints throughout all the games so far.
Pegula started the third set same well as the second one and gained the advantage with another break in the opening game. Svitolina was trying to come back and had good chances to do so in 6th game, when she created 5 breakpoints, by Pegula performed a crucial hold there. The American kept the pressure well in 10th game and served for the victory despite facing another breakpoint here. Pegula won by 4-6 6-3 6-4 in a really high quality match. The advance into semis assured her the overtake of Elena Rybakina in WTA rankings, which means that the top ranked US player becomes the world's number 3 again after losing this spot a few months ago.
Two wins for Sakkari
Maria Sakkari was the only one player who needed to play two matches today, because of the rain conditions which tormented the Thursday's schedule and her second round's match against Leylah Fernandez. The Greek handled it very well and ended up the day with two straight-sets victories over the players from North America. Sakkari was a dominant player over Fernandez throughout both sets, despite a little slump while leading with a double break in opening set. The Canadian came back from being 0-3 down, but Sakkari regained her advantage at the end and controlled whole the second set.
The fourth seed of the tournament had set up a quarterfinal's clash against Madison Keys. Sakkari was much more reliable player than the third best ranked American, who was much more erratic with her shots. The Greek has put an immense pressure on Keys in decisive games of the opening set, converting 7th of created breakpoints to clinch the set by 6-3. Sakkari followed the blow after start of the second one and was leading with a break from the start, facing just two chances created by Keys in second game. Serving consistently till the end of second set, Sakkari secured the semifinals spot and sets up an intriguing match-up against Pegula on Saturday.
Gauff crushes Bencic
The match between Cori Gauff and Belinda Bencic was expected to be a blockbuster, but the outcome of this one was quite surprising, as the American gave just no chances to the Swiss in a one-way traffic show, ended up with a score 6-1 6-2. Gauff was playing well in all the areas, even including the forehand shots, which are well known as her vulnerability. On the other side, Bencic had a really horrible day while playing much under the par of her normal standards and lost 7 out of 8 service games throughout whole the match.
Just two steps away from title defence
Liudmila Samsonova continues her great week in Washington, as the reigning champion scored another straight sets victory, winning over Marta Kostyuk by 6-4 6-2. The meeting started quite opposite to the course of Samsonova's two previous matches, where the 8th seed did not lose any single service game. This time, Kostyuk started with an early break, but Samsonova managed to come back from 0-2 down to win the opening set by 6-4. Starting from the middle of first set, Samsonova achieved a streak of 8 games won out of 9, which gave her also a double break advantage in second set. Despite losing the serve another time this day, the title holder delivered another confident victory and sets up the semis clash against Gauff on Saturday.