Semifinal Friday in Eastbourne started off in decidedly routine fashion, but soon became anything but.
After saving a total of 10 break points in her first two service games, No. 9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska took the first set from Sloane Stephens in the day’s first semifinal handily, 6-1. After coming from a break down early in the second, Radwanska served for a two set win at 6-1, *6-5. As the wind kicked up, however, Stephens rallied to break back and played a near-flawless tiebreak in the tricky conditions to knot the match at one set all. With Radwanska unsettled by the happenings on court, she also had to deal with some other unexpected intrusions from the locals.
The Pole’s encounter with nature seemed to put her back on the right track and she wrapped up a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 win to move into the championship. Shortly afterwards, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki and Belinda Bencic took to the court for the day’s second semifinal. Unfortunately for the Dane, she was forced to retire in the first set trailing 0-3* due to a back issue.
The bad news kept coming as word soon came out that Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina were withdrawing from the doubles semifinal — giving Zheng Jie and Chan Yung-jan a walkover into the final. While that was the end of scheduled play for the day, little did the assembled crowd in Eastbourne know — there was more tennis to come.