Father knows best? Gavrilova says Hong Kong Tennis Open wobble caused by ‘silly’ comment to her dad
Australian through to semi-finals where she will face Jennifer Brady with China’s Wang Qiang to take on Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Don’t talk back to your parents, so the saying goes, and Daria Gavrilova almost learned the hard way at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open.
The Australian reached Saturday’s semi-finals with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win against compatriot Lizette Cabrera at Victoria Park but, having cruised through the opening set, she made it harder than it had to be after getting in a row with her father and coach, Alexey Gavrilova.
“I lost my focus a little bit,” Gavrilova said of her collapse in the second set. “I just got angry with myself about something silly. And then it just carried on.
“I just said something and then it distracted me, something silly to my dad, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, that was silly’.
“It was just nothing special. And then I was just angry with myself,” she added, laughing.
The dip in concentration lasted a while but thankfully for her she managed to get the distraction out of her head, though still had to contend with a game Cabrera.
“But then she actually played pretty good tennis and was hitting the ball well,” continued world number 22 Gavrilova.
“In the third set I probably could have finished it earlier, before getting it to 4-4. She was up 40-15 as well.”
Watch: Take a tour of the Hong Kong Tennis Open tournament village
It was an error-strewn performance from Gavrilova, who made 16 double faults in all.
“I did not play great tennis at all, I struggled a bit,” she admitted. “But sometimes you have those days, so I’m happy with the way it finished.
“I’ll work on my serve in the morning. I just need to really concentrate on the target. I was just mixing it up too much today and not committing to anything really.”
The 23-year-old also played down any injury concerns despite being delayed for her post-match press conference by an hour after receiving treatment.
“No, it’s just something we all do, some of the players, it’s a normal routine, like a recovery,” she said.
Gavrilova will next face Jennifer Brady of the US, who beat her compatriot Nicole Gibbs 7-5, 6-4 in Friday’s first singles match.
Despite reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open and US Open, the three matches 22-year-old Brady has won here this week are, remarkably, her only WTA main draw victories of the season.
“It feels good,” the world number 70 admitted. “I’m happy with the way I’m playing and I hope it continues.”
Saturday’s other semi-final will see China’s Wang Qiang face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The Russian dispatched Naomi Osaka – conqueror of Venus Williams in the second round – in straight sets, winning 6-3, 6-3 in the final match of the night.
SATURDAY’S ORDER OF PLAY
Jennifer Brady (US) vs  Daria Gavrilova (Australia)
Wang Qiang (China) vs  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) or Naomi Osaka (Japan)
After suitable rest
Lu Jingjing (China)/Wang Qiang (China) vs Monique Adamczak (Australia)/Chang Kai-chen (Taiwan)