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Gauff defeats former number one Pliskova to reach Berlin semi-finals

Teenager Coco Gauff reached her first WTA grass-court semi-final after posting a straight sets win over former world number one Karolina Pliskova in Berlin on Friday.

The 18-year-old American, who reached her first Grand Slam final at the French Open earlier this month, sealed a 7-5, 6-4 win over fourth seed Pliskova.

“It took me a while to find my rhythm, the forehand slice isn’t something I use a lot, but I did today,” said Gauff.

“Her shots were pretty low on the grass and sometimes it was enough to change the direction of the point.”

In Saturday’s semi-finals, Gauff faces top seed Ons Jabeur or Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Second seed Maria Sakkari also reached her first grass-court semi-final after brushing past Daria Kasatkina for a 6-0, 6-3 victory in just 72 minutes.

Sakkari will face Belinda Bencic after the Swiss Olympic champion rallied to beat Veronika Kudermetova 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in their hard-fought tie, which lasted just over two hours.

Bencic had to dig deep and despite hitting seven double faults, she held off Kudermetova, who fired down six aces.

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