Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez continued the strong series of form in Monterrey, defeating Viktoria Kuzmova, 7-5, 6-3, to move into the semifinals Abierto GNP Seguros.
18-year-old Fernandez reached the Monterrey finals in her first competition round last season, and she has gone further this week, bidding for last four places without a set to lose.
Fernandez had to fight past an opposing opponent in Kuzmova, however, as the Slovakian warrant almost completed the teenager’s perfect set record this week.
“It was definitely sad,” Fernandez said in her post-match press conference. “She’s gone through qualies, she’s in the quarter-finals, and obviously she wants to win. She has a lot of experience playing in singles and doubles, but I was very happy that I found a way and without got through to the next round. “
But still let down set 👀
18 years old 🇨🇦 Leylah Annie Fernandez, moving on to the semifinals in ☀️ Monterrey.
The defeat of Kuzmova, 7-5, 6-3 and will be against the winners Sorribes Tormo and Schmiedlova. pic.twitter.com/8B9JSHcB6a
– wta (@WTA) March 19, 2021
In the fiercely controversial first set, Kuzmova turned away a set point at 5-4 with some stellar serve, followed by an 18-point game, where Fernandez had to stop four rest points before holding i on her for 6-5.
The next 16-point game came, where Fernandez Kuzmova broke to grab the opening set after 75 minutes of play. The second set was simpler, though Fernandez allowed a 5-0 lead move and needed five game points before he grabbed the win.
“After losing the first few game points, I tried to change, change how I thought,” Fernandez said. “I knew she was going to fight to the end. I tried to do the same, and on my fifth game point, I was able to put my plan into action.”
Fernandez’s semifinal opponent will be Guadalajara champion last week, Sara Sorribes Tormo, who defeated Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, 6-3, 7-5.
After two challenging hours and 17 minutes, the No.7 Sorribes Tormo seed has claimed the seventh game in a row as it continues its incredible run in 2021.
Sorribes Tormo is now 12-4 on the season, with her first WTA single title and a new World No.57 senior position to show for her efforts.
Seed No.8 Ann Li also entered the semifinal line at Monterrey, after moving past No.3 seed Zheng Saisai, 7-5, 6-1.
“It was very difficult, and I’m glad I was able to stay tough and win that game,” said Li, after winning a quarter of an hour. “Another difficult game under my belt, which is good, it helps build confidence. “
Li, a 20-year-old, who reached her first WTA singles final at the Grampians Championship in Melbourne earlier this season, improved her 2021 loss record to a stellar 9-1 with the one-time win hour and 48-minutes over Zheng.
Like Fernandez, Li also had to put his opponent out in a difficult first set. Li led 3-1 starts before guile Zheng won all three games in a row to move forward with a break at 4-3.
The power that Li hit allowed her to regress, and the Americans were able to break for the one-set lead, changing her second set point after Zheng was wrong in the net.
“I was doing a little too much at first, and I think I’m trying to find the balance between being more patient and staying as aggressive as I can, it was that was the kind that mattered to me, “Li said.
Li had a much easier time in the second set, racing to a 5-0 lead before Zheng was able to get on the board. Li had no problem attending the game at 5-1, as she also wanted her place in the semifinals without losing a set so far.
Li’s semifinal opponent will be another player who has already reached a final this season: qualifier Viktorija Golubic, who finished as Clara Tauson’s second in Lyon just two weeks ago .
Golubic secured her semifinal place this week with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over rival Anna Kalinskaya in 96 minutes. The No.102 World of Switzerland has now reached two WTA semifinals in one season for the first time since 2016, when she won the title in Gstaad and reached the finals of Linz.
“Of course I’m really excited about the week,” said Golubic, who has won 11 of her last 12 games spanning Lyon and Monterrey’s top games and draws.
“Coming so far again, changing from the inside, I was on [lots of] travel, I just worked two days and then I started again, “Golubic said.” So it’s incredible what I’m doing, and I will keep going. “