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Gavrilova loses Hong Kong tennis semi

AAP logoAAP 14/10/2016

Australian eighth seed Daria Gavrilova has saved multiple match points before falling 7-5 6-3 to Kristina Mladenovic in a two-hour semi-final at the Hong Kong Open.

The world No.38, after belting top seed and two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1 in the quarter-finals, fought to the end on Saturday against Mladenovic, unable to hang on in a 12-minute concluding game.

Mladenovic, who has made her name on the doubles court with two grand slam finals and a title this year at Roland Garros, had to struggle throughout against Gavrilova.

The semi-final was littered with breaks of serve - six from the first seven games. Mladenovic took an hour to secure the set, firing an inside-out forehand winner to clinch the opener.

In the second set, the pair traded breaks in the fourth and fifth games.

Mladenivoc secured another break for 5-3. She was then forced to save three break points in the long final game before sending a return winner down the line for victory.

"It was a really tough win. I'm glad to get to the final," she said. "I think my doubles experience really helps in singles.

"I tried to play aggressive today, with big groundstrokes and trying to come forward as much as I could."

The Frenchwoman, ranked 54th, will face a Sunday final against fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane has scored a 6-3 6-4 win over defending champion Jelena Jankovic in the second semi-final.

Mladenovic is seeking her first career singles title. She stands 0-2 against former world No.1 Wozniacki.

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