This is the first time watching Veronika Kudermetova. She thoroughly deserved her place in the last 4 in Charleston. Veronika(yes with a K) has a mighty big forehand especially playing it to her opponent’s right. It took Sloane a while to warm up to the match in the first set but it was too late by that time. The Russian Kudermetova built a 3-0 lead early. I was standing up and applauding the point of the match, at 3-2 with Stephens looking to hold serve to level the match up with the advantage at deuce. Great tenacity shown by both players, both Veronika and Sloane trying drop shots which the other got to easily during the rally. Veronika brought the game back to choose with another drop this time doing the trick against a clearly exhausted Stephens. Clearly the point of the match. Veronika closed out the set comfortably 6-3, punishing any short return Sloane makes.

Watching this point showed me why I loved clay court tennis so much. Second set 1-0 Veronika , with Stephens up 15-0. I felt as though I was watching table tennis seeing the looping high forehands with both players way away from their base lines. I was more interested in who takes the bait first, that is who comes to attack the net first. The player who does not was almost certain to win the point. Stephens won that point but only just with her looping back hand clipping the line. Kudermetova closed out the set 6-4 and will now face Ash Barty’s conqueror Paula Badosa for a place in the final.