x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

How it happened: Razzano advances into final

Virginie Razzano sweeps aside Kaia Kanepi in the first of the semi-finals at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Virginie Razzano celebrates after defeating Kaia Kanepi during the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Virginie Razzano celebrates after defeating Kaia Kanepi during the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Virginie Razzano swept aside Kaia Kanepi in the first of the semi-finals at the Dubai Tennis Championships. See how it unfolded below with our live commentary. I'll be back for the clash of the sisters with Venus and Serena Williams playing for the right to take on Razzano from 7pm tonight. Join me then. **************************************************************************** It's kisses and waves from Virginie Razzano as her opponent trudges off with a weary expression and a towel round her shoulders. Annabel Croft is on the court in double quick time to ask the victorious Razzano a few questions and calling her "a great tactician out there." Razzano was certainly helped by Kanepi's unforced errors but she is one of the those players that keeps getting the ball back and waiting patiently for her chance. It was a solid game but I don't think that will be enough to beat either of the Williams sisters tomorrow. We'll see what tricks she has up her sleeve. SECOND SET, GAME EIGHT Kanepi's first return hits the net before the second point sees a rare, rash shot from Razzano. The third point sees Kanepi hit a tired-looking backhand high and wide. There's two match points after Kanepi's forehand hits the top of the net and bounces back. She converts immediately dragging the Estonian out wide with her serve and hitting her forehand into the empty court. RAZZANO WINS 6-2 Razzano SECOND SET, GAME SEVEN Kanepi forces Razzano to hit a backhand out on the stretch but then gifts her the next point with a shot into the middle of the net. A double fault takes it to 15-40. Another deep forehand down the line from Razzano has Estonia's sportswoman of 2008 unable to return. An hour has been played and the Frenchwoman is serving for the match.5-2 Razzano SECOND SET, GAME SIX A scorching forehand down the line on the run makes it 40-0. Kanepi then nets the return. 4-2 Razzano SECOND SET, GAME FIVE There are worrying scenes on my screen as I get a "server error". Apt, while watching tennis I admit, but concerning nonetheless. It seems to be back up and running now. Razzano waits for the errors and manages to break Kanepi's two-game streak and serve. 3-2 Razzano SECOND SET, GAME FOUR Razzano aces with a serve of only, but placed, wide to the forehand side, perfectly. However, Kanepi is making less unforced errors now. At 30 all Rozzano double faults and Kanepi closes out the game. 2-2 SECOND SET, GAME THREE The pair have played five times with the results 3-2 in the Frenchwoman's favour although Kanepi's victories have come in the last two events. It is looking like Razzano is going to rip up the form guide. A 181kph serve from Kanepi had Razzano on the back foot but the Estonian fluffed a double-handed backhand volley attempt into the net. She looks a bit disconsolate after that. Razzano fights back from 40-0 to deuce. It's Razzano's turn to charge the net and she tries the same shot as Kanepi but hits a winner. Kanepi curves a second serve into Razzano's body and she nets the return. Then Kanepi's serve out wide is called out. It looks in to me and I'm right behind it. Her challenge is successful. Kanepi is on the board in this set. 2-1 Razzano SECOND SET, GAME TWO Razzano is remaining strong on the backhand side. She's making fewer errors and maintaining a probing length despite lacking her opponent's power. Razzano 2-0 SECOND SET, GAME ONE That's better from Kanepi, making it 15 all with some powerful hitting. But she then hits a forehand low into the net. It's not quite happening for her today. Razzano moves Kanepi around like a chess piece to set up the passing shot and make it 30-40. Kanepi duly obliges with a forehand long and Kanepi has been broken again. Razzano 1-0 GAME SEVEN There are just too many unforced errors from Kanepi. Razzano closes out the set to 15 in just half an hour. Razzano 6-1 GAME SIX Kanepi opens with a double fault. The next point sees her hit a cracker of a crosscourt forehand out of the reach of the scampering Razzano. More of that is needed by the Estonian. Kanepi slices a backhand and charges the net but it's too short, too central and Razzano strokes a backhand past her. A backhand into the net, unforced again, gives the game away for Kanepi. 5-1 Razzano GAME FIVE Razzano tries an angled serve that in cricket would be called an "inside out" shot. It wrongfoots Kanepi but flies out. At 30 all Razzano's first serve is just 149kph but Kanepi sends it long shortly after. The following point Kanepi attacks a 146kph serve with a blistering forward to take it to deuce. Razzano then oddly challenges a call on her first serve that was clearly out. Maybe a delaying tactic, similar to her match against Zvonareva. It was certainly optimistic if not. Kanepi hits long and wide in the next two points. 4-1 to Razzano GAME FOUR Kanepi uses up her first challenge but Razzano's shot is ruled in. A loose shot on the forehand from Kanepi gives the Frenchwoman two break points. But a weak backhand and a powerful drive from Kanepi sees it to deuce. Kanepi again rushes a shot and hits her two-handed backhand out. The Estonian mixes it up by rushing the net but she can only hit Razzano's forehand into the net. 3-1 Razzano GAME THREE A lovely flat backhand down the line gives Razzano 40-30 and a chance to hold serve, which she does with a 165kph serve wide to the backhand side. 2-1 Razzano GAME TWO Razzano makes Kanepi chase to both sides of the court before hitting the winner to make it 15-30. Kanepi slows her first serve down to 172kph to ensure it gets in at 30-40 and the rally goes her way with Razzano netting. But Kanepi yanks a forehand wide before then hitting the net. After a rusty start Razzano's backhand looks to be working well and she has immediately broken back. 1-1 GAME ONE Virginie Razzano will serve to get us underway. Three unforced errors off the backhand side give Kanepi two break points. The first sees her hit her forehand long before Razzano hits a forehand wide. Razzano's challenge fails and the Estonian has broken already. 1-0 Kanepi It's a very warm day on court which may be to the advantage of Kanepi with Razzano having come through a draining 2 hr 23 mins battle with Zvonareva yesterday. ************************************************************************ Hello and welcome to Dubai for the first semi-final of the Barclays Tennis Championships. It is fair to say it is not the match many expected with the unfancied pair of Virginie Razzano and Kaia Kanepi battling it out for a place in the final. Razzano defeated Vera Zvonareva and Dinara Safina on her way to the last four while the Estonian Kanepi saw off an out-of-sorts Jelena Jankovic before beating the Russian qualifier Elesina Vesnina in the quarters. Follow the action with The National from the Aviation Club in Dubai from 2pm. The winner will face either Venus or Serena Williams. The sisters battle it out here at around 7pm tonight. The ladies have arrived on court to polite applause with Kanepi in bright pink and Razzano in white and the knock-up is underway.