Julia Goerges was in dazzling form as she extended her winning streak to overpower Anastasija Sevastova in the first semifinal of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
WTA Staff
November 4, 2017

ZHUHAI, China - No.7 seed Julia Goerges slammed her way into her fifth final of 2017 and extended her winning streak to eight matches with a dominant 6-3, 6-3 victory over No.5 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the semifinals of the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.

The win was a measure of revenge for the German, who had lost to Sevastova in the first of her finals this year - a tight 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 loss in Mallorca in June.

On Saturday, she turned that result around in style - breaking the World No.15 in the very first game and never looking back.

Playing in front of legend compatriot and Tournament Ambassador Stefanie Graf, once dubbed Fräulein Forehand for the ferocity of that weapon, Goerges channeled some of that spirit in crushing 41 winners of her own - 18 of which came from her own renowned forehand wing.

"It was my best match of the week. I'm just very happy that I could put up this performance today," the German said. "I think I moved pretty good. I always came behind the ball and really met the ball in front of me, which is very important to really create good shots.

"I think overall I was very patient, and when I had the chance I really went for it."

In a 40-minute opening set, Sevastova was forced to dig into her bag of tricks just to keep in touch with her soaring opponent.

Though she could still come up with the occasional delight of a dropshot, it was an uphill struggle. Of the three games the 27-year-old managed to get on the scoreboard, two were multi-deuce tussles in which the Latvian had to save break points, all with timely service winners. 

"I knew that from the first to the last point it's going to be tough anyhow. She's playing a lot of balls back - she's probably one of the best defenders in the game and she reads the game very well," Goerges said.

"I got her a bit away from her game, which was my goal, to really not let her dictate the game, because this can be very ugly if she puts her dropshot in and if she creates a lot of slice and she really puts a lot of variety into the game."

By contrast, the Goerges delivery was impregnable. Though the 29-year-old was taken to deuce in two of her first three service games, she did not face a break point over the course of the match - and permitted Sevastova just four points on return in the second set, taking 26 of her final 30 service points.

Having become just the third woman to hit the 400-ace mark in a single season this week (following Serena Williams in 2012-15 and Karolina Pliskova in 2014-17), Goerges extended her total for the year to 410 with five aces today.

It was the quality of the second serve that was particularly key to Goerges' victory: though her first serve percentage dipped to just 59%, the Moscow champion was able to win 76% of her second service points anyway - almost level with the 77% of her first service points won.

In a repeat of the first set, Goerges broke Sevastova off the bat in the second set - taking advantage of her opponent's second serve to run around her forehand and smack a crosscourt return winner.

In the subsequent game, she was even able to out-dropshot the US Open quarterfinalist to extend her lead to 3-0. Thereafter, the match settled into a pattern of straightforward holds that saw Goerges comfortably over the finish line, ending with a backhand winner down the line.

Having endured a six-year title drought since 2011, the German will have a chance to lift back-to-back trophies tomorrow against CoCo Vandeweghe - as well as equaling the longest WTA-level winning streak of her career to date at nine, originally set in 2011.

"I would say it probably helps me a bit to have played already a lot of finals this year and to just come from a tournament win," the No.7 seed assessed. 

"Every match starts from zero, and I know it's going to be my last match of the season, so I'll just put everything in what I have and trying to enjoy it, too, because it's not happening every day that you're gonna play a big final, especially at the end of the season where it has been long already and a lot of matches in for me.

"I'm just trying to really go for it and play my game and enjoy it at the same time."