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Haddad Maia into Eastbourne semis, eyeing 3rd title in a row

EASTBOURNE, ENGLAND (AP) – Beatriz Haddad Maia was given a helping hand in her bid for a third straight grass-court title ahead of Wimbledon.

The Brazilian advanced to the semifinals at Eastbourne without hitting a ball Thursday after her opponent, Lesia Tsurenko, withdrew because of a right elbow injury.

Hadded Maia was fresh when facing Petra Kvitova in the last four yesterday as she looks to follow up title wins in Nottingham and Birmingham over the past two weeks.

She hadn’t won a WTA title before this short grass-court season that is going better than she could ever have imagined.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, ended the hopes of British wild card Harriet Dart in a 6-3, 6-4 victory on centre court. The other semifinal match will be between defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and 12th-seeded Camila Giorgi, who also had straight-set wins.

In the men’s event, British wild card Jack Draper reached his first ATP semifinals by beating compatriot Ryan Peniston 6-3, 6-3. Maxime Cressy of the United States ensured there would not be another all-British match in the semis but ousting home hope Cameron Norrie, the top-seeded player, 7-5, 7-5.

That left third-seeded Taylor Fritz as the highest-ranked player left in the draw and he became the second American to advance from the quarterfinals by beating Alexander Bublik 6-3, 6-2.

Fritz will next play defending champion Alex de Minaur, who defeated Tommy Paul 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Much of the scrutiny at Eastbourne this week has been on the women’s doubles, in which Serena Williams was competing in her comeback from a year away from tennis.

Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia. PHOTO: AFP