‘S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - No.7 seed Lesia Tsurenko won eight of the last nine games to cruise into the semifinals of the Ricoh Open on Friday, ousting No.2 seed Kristina Mladenovic, 6-3, 6-1.
The Ukrainian improved her career head-to-head against the Frenchwoman to 5-1 overall, which included a victory in the final of the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC in March for her third career WTA title.
A steady performance from the No.7 seed saw her serve at 70 percent for the match, striking a tidy 10 winners to just nine unforced errors. Tsurenko never dropped serve in the 62-minute victory, and was helped in part by 24 unforced errors off Mladenovic's racquet.
"It was a very good match for me," Tsurenko said on-court. "I was really lucky to [hold] all my serves, as this is very important on grass. I know her well and that's why I...just played my game and tried to be as aggressive as I could [be] and I think it paid off."
Tsurenko took advantage of a slow start by Mladenovic, as she broke at love in the first game of the match and held on to her lead for the duration.
The Ukrainian largely cruised on serve in the opener until the eighth game, where she saved the lone break points she faced in the match, and used the momentum to secure a love break and the opening set.
Tsurenko rolled through the second set behind a pair of breaks, and though Mladenovic held on with some aggressive play to save the bagel, the Ukrainian sealed the match with a love hold and her first ace of the day.
A quarterfinalist at the Ricoh Open in 2013, Tsurenko advances to her third semifinal of the season.
"I really like this tournament, I'm coming here almost every year and I really enjoy staying here," she said. "I love the people, the nature and the organization is really, really good here."
The No.7 seed will face Anett Kontaveit as each player looks to make her second final of the season. The Estonian proved too strong in an all-unseeded quarterfinal to close out the day's play, taking out Carina Witthoeft, 6-3, 6-1 in just under an hour.
Also advancing to the semifinals early in the day was Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva, who ended the hopes of home favorite Arantxa Rus, 6-3, 6-2. Like Tsurenko, Vikhlyantseva never lost serve in the straight sets victory.
The Russian has struggled on tour since her breakthrough in February, where she reached the semifinals of the Premier event at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, and had lost her last six matches on clay before arriving on the grass.
Vikhlyantseva will face No.5 seed Ana Kojuh for a place in the final after the Croatian saved five match points in a dramatic final set tiebreak to defeat Evgeniya Rodina, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(10).
Konjuh trailed by a break in the decider, but broke the Russian's serve as she stepped to the line for the match at 5-4 on her fifth opportunity in the game. In the tiebreak, Konjuh saved all five match points, including two on the Rodina serve, as she ran off the last three points of the set and won the match on a Rodina double fault.
Konjuh will also be looking to reach her second final of 2017, having finished runner-up to Lauren Davis at the ASB Classic in Auckland in January.