At the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz tournament in Slovenia, 4th seed Sorana Cirstea, a recent Emma Raducanu conquest, was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-1 by Italy’s Jasmine Paolini in their last 8 meeting.
It’s quite uncomfortable to wait, warm-up and then interrupt. At this level of tournaments, you need to be maximally collected and play each point as best you can. I did quite well today, but I know that I have a much harder job ahead of me in the evening against Tamara. Kaja Juvan
Paolini will next face the No 2 seed Yulia Putintseva from Kazakstan, who beat Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti, 6-3 6-2, while 3rd seed Alison Riske from the USA saw off France’s Kristina Mladenovic, 6-4 6-1.
Riske will face Kaja Juvan, who came through her all-Slovenian battle with Tamara Zidansek, 7-6 4) 6-3.
Juvan reached her semi-final spot after pulling double-duty, winning her second-round match played on Thursday and completed on Friday due to rain, before taking on her compatriot.
She first beat Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic, 7-6(1) 6-4, to reach the quarter-finals where she met Zidansek, who received a walkover into the last 8.
Speaking after her second-round win, Juvan had said: “It’s quite uncomfortable to wait, warm-up and then interrupt.
“At this level of tournaments, you need to be maximally collected and play each point as best you can.
“I did quite well today, but I know that I have a much harder job ahead of me in the evening against Tamara.”
The 20-year-old went on to post an upset over her higher-ranked countrywoman in an hour and 52 minutes.
Ranked 103, Juvan won 68% of her first-serve points to Zidansek’s 60%, but the biggest difference between the two was in the points each won off their second serves, with Juvan winning 70% while Zidansek could only manage 48%.
Juvan finished the match with 83 points to Zidansek’s 66, and next plays Riske on Saturday, who took an hour and 30 minutes to dispatch Mladenovic in their quarter-final match-up.
Putintseva posted another comfortable win in the Slovenian city, easily defeating Italian qualifier Bronzetti in an hour and 23 minutes, and now takes on another Italian in Paolini for a place in the final.
Paolini needed 2 hours 6 minutes to upset 4th-seeded Cirstea in 3 sets after the 87th ranked Italian comfortably led by a set and a break before conceding the break back to the Romanian, who then scored the second set.
Shrugging off her lapses, however, Paolini began the decider with a break, but there was a brief scare when she faced a break point herself at 3-1, which she saved before securing one further to serve out the match in the 7th game.
The Portoroz Open semi-final is the first that Paolini has reached at a WTA event.