EASTBOURNE, England - In a stark contrast in playing styles it was Jamie Hampton's forward thinking that beat out Caroline Wozniacki's consistency in the semifinals of the Aegon International on Friday, propelling the American into the first WTA final of her career - and at the Premier level, too.
Hampton, who came through the qualifying and already took out No.1 seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round, was in all kinds of trouble - she lost the first set, was down 4-2 in the second set and again down a break in the third set - but she never took her foot off the pedal, continuing to hit big forehands and rush the net regardless. She ended up edging the No.5-seeded Wozniacki, 67(8) 75 63.
In her post-match press conference, Hampton was asked what she thought she did best in the match.
"Stuck with it," Hampton said. "I think I stayed positive even though I had a few set points in the first set and kind of choked them away a little bit, and got down a break in the second. I think I was down 0-40 on my serve there too. But I got the hold and just stuck with it and stayed positive. I'm pretty proud.
"Caroline is tough. She sticks with it whether she's winning or losing. She made me earn what I got."
Hampton is now through to her first WTA final - she was asked afterwards how she feels about it.
"Feels good," she said. "I didn't come just to play the qualifying. I try to enter every tournament and think to get deep in the tournament, and look to win the title. So coming off my Roland Garros run I had a good amount of confidence, and I was hoping to get deep into this tournament this week too."
Hampton's final match numbers were 55 winners to 48 unforced, and winning 25 of 40 net approaches.
Meanwhile, Wozniacki had 18 winners to 24 unforced, and won eight of 17 net approaches.
"I would love to have won today - it would have been worth it to be out there for three hours," Wozniacki said. "But I thought we actually played a very good match, even though the wind was there and was so difficult. And I had my chances - I just didn't take them, and she played very well.
"Overall I'm feeling good. I feel happy to be on grass. Hopefully I'll do well at Wimbledon."
"I was surprised," Vesnina said. "I was expecting a very long and difficult match for both of us, because Yanina is a very dangerous player and plays aggressive. It's a good style for grass, too, and she has had great wins this week, she beat two Top 10 players. I thought it would be really tough today.
"But I think after the first set she kind of lost her concentration and didn't know what to do. Maybe the wind was affecting her game too. I think it's because of that the match went so quickly today."
Vesnina has a little bit more experience than Hampton in WTA finals - she has been to seven of them before, and though her 1-6 record isn't that flattering, the one win did come in her most recent one.
Vesnina and Hampton will be playing against each other for the first time.
"Jamie is a very talented player," Vesnina said. "She has great hands, and she's playing all over the court. She can play on the baseline and at the net. She has a great serve. It's definitely going to be a very tough match for both of us. It's her first final, as well - I'm sure she's excited about that.
"I'm expecting a tough match, and I'm really looking forward for that."