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Unheralded American qualifier Katie Volynets makes history at Austin, Texas by saving a match point and rallying from 5-0 down in the third set to defeat Anastasia Potapova 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.
She will now face China's Zhang Shuai for the title, while Varvara Gracheva upset top seed Sloane Stephens 7-6 (4), 6-3.
At the WTA 250 in Austin, the once 32-woman draw has been reduced to eight as only three seeds remain. Sloane Stephens will face Varvara Gracheva in the quarterfinals for a place on court one.
Fourth-seeded Stephens upset fellow American Taylor Townsend in the first round to set up a match against Russian youngster Varvara Gracheva in the quarterfinals. She won 6-3, 6-4 with impressive serve aggression; although she lost four service games, her 27 winners kept her ahead on the scoreboard.
Gracheva, who is currently ranked 88th, had a difficult start to the year but is now 2-2 on hard courts after winning her opening match at the Australian Open in January before falling to Aryna Sabalenka. If she hopes to advance further in the tournament, Gracheva must maintain her impressive form.
Gracheva achieved a first-serving percentage of 61% and saved 9 out of 14 break points. Additionally, she committed only 3 double faults throughout the match.
Volynets took an early advantage in each set and held off reigning NCAA singles champion Peyton Stearns to reach her first WTA semifinal on Friday, winning 7-5, 6-3 and winning 39% of her second-serve points against Stearns' 22%.
Volynets held her nerve in what could have been a top-10 match, despite being in some difficulty. Now Volynets looks forward to an intriguing challenge against Gracheva.
She will need to be at her peak performance to overcome the Russian, who has won seven of her past seven matches and four out of five against players outside the top 50.
Stephens faces a similar challenge to their initial meeting in Merida, and it will be no easy feat. She needs to come out strong and capitalize on all the support she received from Austin fans; if she can do that, it will be her first victory of the season and an ideal way to boost her confidence after such a test last few weeks.
Katie Volynets, ranked 92nd in the world, lived up to her ranking on Friday by triumphing 7-5, 6-3 over Peyton Stearns in the WTA semifinal at Austin. No small feat for 21-year-old American; however, Volynets managed it with ease and grace.
Volynets was at the top of her game from start to finish and displayed remarkable consistency. She saved a match point and went on to win seven out of eight games, scoring 27 out of 32 points in her triumph.
Volynets' WTA debut was highlighted by her stunning victory over Veronika Kudermetova in the quarterfinals.
She still faces one more obstacle in the form of 88th-ranked Varvara Gracheva, who overcame Britain's Heather Watson to reach her first tour-level quarterfinal appearance. It looks like this matchup could go the distance as in the previous round 151st-ranked Mirjam Bjorklund eliminated 50th-ranked Alycia Parks after an epic 6 hour and 17 minute marathon match. These matches mark just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting week at ATX Open with plenty more matches ahead!
Volynets reached her first WTA semifinal of her career, holding off Peyton Stearns 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at ATX Open. The 21-year-old American saved a match point while holding off Stearns' third set rally to save match point and hold onto an early 5-0 deficit in set two before breaking again for a 5-2 lead going into the final game.
Volynets had an incredible week at the tournament, beginning as a wild card and reaching the round of 16 in singles. She won her first three matches by defeating Ali Riske-Amritraj and Anastasia Potapova in straight sets. The win capped off an illustrious week for Volynets which began with her debut at Wimbledon as a wild card.
Volynets' victory marked the first time she had defeated someone who qualified for the WTA Finals, and against one of her generation's top players. On Wednesday night, Volynets had saved a match point against Stearns by wiping out a 5-0 deficit in the third set to move onto a quarterfinal against 19-year-old Romanian.
Gauff was eliminated by Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the opening set of the WTA Finals. After an intense first set that saw them tie 4-4, Kasatkina took control with her serve to seal victory.
She then proceeded to dominate the next six games, taking home a total of 66 points on her serve. Smashing 16 winners to secure her tour-high 66th win of the season.
This was an encouraging result for the 2022 season, as she struggled with service yips early on and lacked consistency during clay season. But she was able to improve upon these issues, reaching quarterfinals of Doha and winning her first Grand Slam at Rome before losing in the French Open final.
She had an impressive season in doubles with partner Jessica Pegula, reaching the final of Guadalajara and semi-finals at Rome before losing to Caroline Garcia in the French Open final. Additionally, they remained at the top of the world ranking throughout the year.
The WTA Finals will take place at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth from October 31 to November 7. The eight top singles players and doubles teams of the 2022 season will compete for a whopping $1,680,000 in prize money. The top three winners from both categories will qualify for the Grand Slams of 2023.
Shaui Zhang and Laura Siegemund engaged in an exciting two-hour and three minute battle during the WTA semifinal at Austin. Ultimately, it was Zhang who emerged victorious with a score of 6-3 6-1.
World No.1 Iga Swiatek has not lost a set since her opening round defeat to Maria Sakkari at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, as she advanced to her sixth semifinal of the year and first on clay with an impressive 6-4, 6-4 victory over Romanian qualifier Emma Raducanu on Friday afternoon. With this win, Swiatek now has won 26 matches on tour this season to improve to 30-3 overall.
This was the second meeting between these players this week, following their three-set battle at Dubai on Monday. Following a lengthy rain delay, the climax came at Kia Arena in a game that lasted 2 hours and 1 minute.
After a slow start, China's Zhang served exceptionally well to win 81% of points with her first serve and break Bronzetti six times. Additionally, she hit 79 winners and faced just two double faults on her first serve.
She then unleashed 17 aces to rally from a 4-3 deficit in the third set and win it 6-3 7-5. In the fourth game, she added another 6 aces for an even victory and advanced to her first WTA semifinal in six years - eventually falling 6-4.
Though she wasn't the same player she was in Madrid, Garcia continued to play like a champion throughout the draw. She reached the quarterfinals of a major for the eighth time and became only the fifth French woman in history to reach three consecutive WTA finals - joining Caroline Wozniacki, Venus Williams, Simona Halep and Anna Blinkova on that feat.
She holds a record 10 titles on the tour and is seeking her 12th after defeating American wild card Shelby Rogers in the opening round. In the next round she will face German qualifier Mona Barthel for consideration.