Top-seeded Petra Martic reaches Palermo Open semis

August 08,2020

 Top-seeded Petra Martic defeated Belarussian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) to advance to the semi-final of the ongoing Palermo Open.

The Croatian will next meet fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit, who overcame Italian teenager Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, reports Xinhua news agency.

Kontaveit said on Friday she was looking forward to playing against Martic.

"I was doing fitness for a long time," the Estonian said of the break due to the coronavirus pandemic. "I started playing a lot of tennis one and half months ago."

Palermo Open is the first WTA Tour tournament following a five-month break due to the COVID-19.

Players and officials for the tournament are being tested every four days for COVID-19 and one player who tested positive withdrew over the weekend.

New protocols include fewer ball kids, a limited number of fans and no post-match handshakes between opponents.