HOBART, Australia - Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens is through to her first career WTA final after a 6-4, 6-0 win over Jana Fett at the Hobart International.
"It feels amazing, I didn't expect it at all so it's a surprise!" Mertens told media after the match.
Playing in swirling conditions as a storm threatened overhead, both players took a few games to find their footing in the match. But when they did it was Mertens who struck first, breaking twice to edge past the Croatian qualifier in the opening set.
From then it was all Mertens, who reeled off the next six games to snap up the match after just over an hour and ten minutes and book her spot into her first WTA final.
? WTA (@WTA) January 13, 2017
"Unfortunately I cannot play the semifinal in Hobart," said Tsurenko, who is suffering from a viral illness. "I'm really disappointed because I'm still not feeling well and it is getting worse with playing more and more matches, which is why I'm forced to withdraw from the semifinal. I'm really hoping to feel better soon. I'm taking some more medications and really hope to be better in Melbourne."
It'll be Mertens' and Niculescu's first meeting, although the Belgian is familiar with Niculescu's tricky playing style.
"I think she's a really experienced player," she said. "I haven't played her yet so it'll be the first time, so we'll see. She plays good, she has some good slice forehands, so we'll see if the wind tomorrow goes with that."