Russian 4th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova will meet lucky loser Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain in the Tennis in the Land singles final on Saturday, the WTA 250 warm-up tournament ahead of the US Open, which begins on Monday.
It was quite a difficult match because, I think, semi-final matches, they're never easy. I had a break early in the first set, but I couldn't keep it, unfortunately, so it was 5-5, and a really shaky situation. I was able to manage to find a way back. Ekaterina Alexandrova
Alexandrova defeated China’s Lin Zhu, 7-5 6-2, in Friday’s first semi-final, while Sorribes Tormo reached the final with a 6-4 6-3 win over Germany’s Tatjana Maria.
Ranked No 22 in the world, Alexandrova won the last 4 games of the second set to complete her straight sets win in an hour and 21 minutes, firing 7 aces and winning 78% of her first-service points in the process.
The Russian held her serve 5 times after Zhu, ranked 48, pulled even at 5-5 in the opening set, and was pushed to break point twice during the match, losing just one.
“It was quite a difficult match because, I think, semi-final matches, they’re never easy,” Alexandrova said later. “I had a break early in the first set, but I couldn’t keep it, unfortunately, so it was 5-5, and a really shaky situation. I was able to manage to find a way back.
“It always feels great to be in a final, and to do it in Cleveland is great because I always love to play here,” continued Alexandrova, who has competed in all three editions of the WTA 250 tournament at the Nautica Entertainment Complex.
“Some things worked, some things didn’t, but I’m really happy with my game,” she added. “It was a pretty good match.”
Alexandrova is now a win away from her 5th career WTA singles title, and her 2nd title of the year, the 28-year-old having successfully defended her grass-court title in ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier this summer.
“I think, maybe, the start of the year wasn’t as great as expected, but I was able to manage to find [my] game in the middle of this year, and I want to keep it the same way, keep it as long as possible,” Alexandrova said.
Sorribes Tormo has made the most of her second chance this week, entering the 32 woman main draw as a lucky loser after losing in qualifying, and then pulling off impressive wins against Czech Katerina Siniakova, Veronika Kudermetova, the No 3 seed from Russia, American Sloane Stephens, the 9th seed, and now the unseeded Maria.
Ranked 95, Sorribes Tormo took out the German in the evening’s second semi-final in an hour, 53 minutes after a match that featured extended baseline rallies to end Maria’s 7-match winning streak.
The World No 49 came into the event having just won last week’s WTA 125 Barranquilla title, but Sorribes Tormo snapped the German’s run with her straight sets win.
Sorribes Tormo, who has been ranked as high as 32 but is currently sitting at 95, lost in the final round of qualifying to Clara Burel from France, but the Spaniard has been sterling once she got her spot in the main draw, where she has not yet dropped a set.
Only 5 lucky losers in history have won WTA singles titles, and Sorribes Tormo is aiming to be the 3rd in just the last 2 months, following Maria Timofeeva in Budapest and Nao Hibino in Prague, who both pulled off the rare feat already this summer.
Sorribes Tormo won her only previous meeting with Alexandrova, but it was nearly 7 years ago, in Linz qualifying in 2016.
Alexandrova, the only seed to advance past the quarter-finals, is seeking her second title of the year after winning the Libéma Open in the Netherlands, while Sorribes Tormo’s only career singles crown occurred in 2021 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The doubles final will follow the trophy match on Saturday, featuring Japan’s Miyu Kato & Aldila Sutjiadi against American Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez from Australia, the No 2 seeds.
In Friday’s semi-finals, Kato & Sutjiadi defeated Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski & Erin Routliffe from New Zealand, 7-5 6-7(5) [10-7], while Melichar-Martinez & Perez reached the final with a 6-2 6-7(5) [10-8] win over Taipei’s Hao-Ching Chan & Giuliana Olmos from Mexico.