Top-seed Elise Mertens of Belgium defeated unseeded Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 6-4 6-4, to advance to the semi-finals of the TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship Istanbul, where she will meet 3rd-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, who took down Romania’s Ana Bogdan, 2-6 6-3 6-3.
The other semi-final features a pair of unseeded players, after Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk beat Ana Konjuh of Croatia, 7-5 4-6 6-3, while Romania’s Sorana Cirstea advanced after winning the first set, 6-4, against France’s Fiona Ferro, who had to retire.
Mertens put in a more assured performance in her quarter-final victory over Siniakova than her previous match against Viktorija Golubic, extending her head-to-head to 4-0 over the Czech after coming from 1-4 down in the second set to win their quarter-final tussle after an hour 35 minutes.
The Belgian, however, will have to be at her best to get past Kudermetova on Saturday.
The Russian is the No 3 seed here in Istanbul after an excellent run in Charleston a fortnight ago that saw her claim her first WTA singles title, giving the 23-year-old all the momentum.
Mertens leads their head-to-head record 2-0 with two wins on hard courts last year and way back in 2016, but the World No 29 is clearly a handful on this surface and the Belgian has been caught a little cold before at this stage of tournaments.
Kudermetova’s recent title win coupled with her performance on Friday against Bogdan suggests she can reach back-to-back finals here.
The first semi-finalist of the day saw 18-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk who, after 2 hours and 25 minutes, upset the more experienced 23-year old Croatian Ana Konjuh in 3 sets, and will take on Sorana Cirstea in the second WTA semi-final of her career.
The Romanian reached the last four after Ferro, who has 2 WTA titles to her name, withdrew from the match after the first set.