Zheng on brink of success in Birmingham until rain


BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) -Zheng Jie of China came four times within two points of reaching the Aegon Classic semifinals without being able to finish it off on Friday.

Instead, Zheng was left frustratingly close to only her second semi of the year before play was suspended with her leading 6-3, 5-6 against Roberta Vinci from Italy.

The only match to be completed was unfinished on Thursday, with Misaki Doi of Japan advancing from the overnight score of 2-2 in the second set to a 7-5, 6-4 win against Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France and reaching her first WTA quarterfinals.

When Zheng was ahead 6-3, 5-3, she seemed about to score a win over her highest-ranked opponent in five months, but rain intervened three times as the match reached a crazy, stop-go climax.

There was a 42-minute delay at 5-4 before three more minutes of play became possible, and then a nine-minute delay before they were able to play for another eight minutes.

During this phase Zheng, feeling cold and tight from the staccato sequence, dropped her serve despite having recovered from love-40 and reaching deuce.

Vinci then held serve for 6-5 before the rain came again and washed out the day's play for good.

It was even more frustrating for Jelena Jankovic, the former world No. 1, who has had no play for two days. On Thursday, her opponent, Casey Dellacqua of Australia, withdrew with gastro-enteritis.

At least Jankovic, who is aiming for her first title in two years and has become unofficial favorite, learned who her quarterfinal opponent will be: Doi.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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