Daria Gavrilova’s incredible week at Eastbourne took a further twist as the Australia-based Russian withdrew from the tournament, handing Sloane Stephens a walkover to the semi-finals.
Gavrilova kicked off the week with a drubbing of former British #1 Laura Robson before falling at the final hurdle of Qualifying to New Zealander Marina Erakovic.
But she was reinstated to the main draw in place of top seed Petra Kvitova and seized her opportunity to scythe through the draw, which included a last 16 three set triumph over Italian Sara Errani.
The ‘Lucky Loser’ saved a match point with a hard-fought three setter over gutsy Italian Camila Giorgi and goes to Wimbledon full of confidence having upped her current world ranking of #41 when the latest listings are revealed next Monday.
Stephens, the last American in the tournament, wobbled against British wildcard Naomi Broady and fluffed a match point when serving.
But the American ace has soared into the semi-finals by dismantling Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro and British #1 Heather Watson followed by the gift from Gavrilova.
Gavrilova cited a recurrence of her abdominal injury, which left her in tears after she withdrew midway through her 1st Round clash against Sabine Lisicki at last month’s French Open, to exit Eastbourne and rest before making her Wimbledon debut next week.
Gavrilova explained:”I woke up this morning and thought it would be fine, but I tested it in practice and felt some pain.”
“It isn’t good enough to play a player like Sloane where you need to be 100%.
“I was very lucky to get into the main draw here and I had some great wins.
“It’s my first time here at Eastbourne and it’s been a great experience at the tournament, I’m confident I will be back next year.”