British No 2 Heather Watson reached the semi-finals at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC on Thursday with an impressive 6-3 1-6 6-1 win over American Christina McHale and will next meet Chinese qualifier Wang Xiyu.
I knew I had to be aggressive because she wasn't going to give me any freebies. We've been hanging out here every day. We've got both of our mums here, we both went to the party together and have practised with each other. It's tough [playing your friend], but we're both used to it. Heather Watson
After taking the first set in 39 minutes, Watson was broken twice in the second as the American levelled.
Watson, the 7th and now the only remaining seed in the draw, broke twice in the decider before serving out the match after an hour 44 minutes.
Now ranked 69 in the world, Watson said of her victory over McHale: “I knew I had to be aggressive because she wasn’t going to give me any freebies.”
When asked about their friendship, she added: “We’ve been hanging out here every day. We’ve got both of our mums here, we both went to the party together and have practised with each other.
“It’s tough [playing your friend], but we’re both used to it.”
Wang, who dispatched 2nd seeded Yafan Wang in the first round, needed only an hour to get past another compatriot, 6th-seeded Zhu Lin, who defeated Britain’s Katie Boulter on Wednesday, 6-2 6-2.
Wildcard Renata Zarazua, ranked No 270 in the world, claimed a spot in her first-ever WTA semi-final after ousting Tamara Zidansek in 3 sets, continuing her incredible run by overcoming the Slovenian, 6-2 3-6 6-2, on home soil.
“I’m just super happy,” Zarazua told the media, after her win. “I think the crowd is being helpful for me every match.
“I didn’t expect it to be like this, so I’m just like living a dream this week.”
Zarazua, who shocked top seed Sloane Stephens in the opening round and earned a comeback victory over Katie Volynets in the second round, claimed her milestone victory over 74th-ranked Zidansek after an hour and 44 minutes of play.
“After I beat Sloane, I think it gave me confidence to just keep going,” said 22-year old Zarazua. “Yesterday I was really tired, so today my goal was to keep my energy safe.
“At the end, I ended up not even feeling tired. I think that the crowd got me pumped, and I was just going with the flow.”
Zarazua will battle 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the semi-finals.
Fernandez, the 190th-ranked qualifier, beat her fellow teenager, 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova, to reach her own maiden WTA semi-final and extending her breakthrough WTA tournament on Thursday night, knocking out the Russian, 6-3 7-5.
“There’s no words, honestly,” Fernandez said, after her victory. “I’m full of emotions, I’m happy, excited. I’m just proud of myself and the way that I fought today.”
“It wasn’t easy, Anastasia is a great player,” Fernandez continued. “I knew that today was going to be a great battle, and it was. I’m so happy that I was able to come through in the end.”
On facing homeland heroine Zarazua the Canadian said: “It’s going to be a battle. She’s a great player, she’s here playing at home, I know that feeling. I’m just going to try to focus on me, stay positive, and go for my shots.”