Tennis in the Land – Cleveland
Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit and Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania will contest the inaugural Tennis in the Land final in Cleveland on Saturday after defeating Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo and Magda Linette of Poland in their respective semi-finals.
She brings so many balls back that you always have to hit the extra shot. I had to be patient and attack when I could. I hope I can keep pushing myself and get one more [victory] here. Anett Kontaveit
Kontaveit, the 2nd seed saw off the 7th-seeded Spaniard, 6-4 6-4, while Begu upset the 6th-seeded Pole, 7-6(5) 6-2 on Friday in the WTA 250 tournament.
Kontaveit, ranked 30th, had 2 service breaks in rallying from a 4-3 deficit in the first set of the night match at Jacobs Pavilion, using her forehand to finish with 27 winners, 16 more than the World No 43 Sorribes Tormo.
“She brings so many balls back that you always have to hit the extra shot,” Kontaveit said. “I had to be patient and attack when I could.
“I hope I can keep pushing myself and get one more [victory] here.”
Kontaveit used her fiery groundstrokes to power past Sorribes Tormo and improved her head-to-head against the Spaniard to 4-1 after ending each of the 2 sets with a service break to emerge the winner and advance to her 3rd final of the season.
She is seeking her 2nd title, while Begu has 4 career WTA titles.
The Romanian, ranked 74th, dropped the first 3 games to Linette, and fell behind 5-4 in the tiebreak to the World No 51, but she stormed back for her 4th consecutive straight-set victory.
“Magda was really aggressive from the beginning and I started a little bit slow with no reaction,” Begu said. “The first set was up and down, and having two set points, but not taking advantage was tough mentally.
“I was so happy when I was able to close it out.”
Linette upset Russia’s Daria Kasatkina, the top seed, 6-1 6-2, a day earlier, but was unable to handle Begu’s serve.
In all, Begu fired 11 aces in the afternoon contest, beating Linette for the first time in 4 meetings.
“My serve was helping me at important points,” Begu said. “I also was pushing myself to stay in long rallies and be aggressive when I had the chance.”
Both semi-finals lasted 1 hour 45 minutes.
WTA Chicago Women’s Open
Olympic bronze medallist Elina Svitolina continued her US Open build-up with a 3-set win over Rebecca Peterson to reach her first WTA final of the year at the WTA Chicago Women’s Open.
The Ukrainian top seed came through a battle against Sweden’s Peterson before prevailing, 6-1 6-7(7) 6-3, to line up a final meeting with 9th-seeded Alizé Cornet of France, who defeated Russian Varvara Gracheva, 4-6 6-1 6-0.
It is Svitolina’s first final since her title run in Strasbourg last September.
The World No 6 dominated on serve as she ran away with the first set without giving up a break.
Peterson improved in the second, matching Svitolina’s service dominance to take the set in a tiebreak, but she could not sustain her resistance in the decider.
Svitolina fired 29 winners, including 7 aces to the unseeded Swede’s 27 in the 2 hour 26 minutes match.
Cornet can expect a stiff challenge on Saturday against Svitolina, who has won 15 of the 18 WTA finals in which she has appeared.
The Frenchwoman dropped the first set to Gracheva, but stormed home with the loss of only one more game in just under 2 hours to reach her 14th career singles final.
In the final set, Cornet won two-thirds of her second-service points and never faced a break point, as she zoomed through the latter stages of the clash, effectively turning the tables on the Russian in what was her second match of the day.
Cornet has 6 titles and 7 runner-up finishes to her credit, and this is her first final since Lausanne in 2019.