GUANGZHOU, China - Yvonne Meusburger, Zheng Jie and Vania King upended the remaining three seeds at the Guangzhou Open on Thursday to create seedless semifinals for the first time on the WTA this year and the first time in Guangzhou since its inaugural staging in 2004.
Down 4-3 in the first set in her quarterfinal against second-seeded Alizé Cornet, Meusburger won eight straight points to seize the momentum and eventually eight straight games en route to a 64 61 win. The victory shouldn't come as a huge surprise, though, considering Meusburger has now won 14 of her last 17 matches during a run that has also included her first WTA title in Bad Gastein and a runner-up showing in Budapest.
Zheng lost nine more points than she won against No.3 seed and last year's runner-up, Laura Robson, and was two points from defeat twice in the second set tie-break, but managed a 16 76(6) 62 triumph. That put her into her first WTA semifinal of the year and her fourth in Guangzhou, having also gotten that far in 2005, 2008 and 2011.
"I made a lot of mistakes on my return, which gave her a lot of easy points," Robson said. "But overall, I think she just played better than me."
King's victory over eighth-seeded Monica Puig was even more dramatic. She lost 10 more points than she won and withstood a 61 52 deficit and an early break in the third set, eventually pulling out a 16 75 76(5) victory in two and a half hours. Not only did it put her into her first WTA semifinal of the year, but it was her 200th professional win, and came a day after she rallied from a 4-1 third set deficit in beating Bojana Jovanovski. In fact, King has won four straight matches here in three sets, one in qualifying and three in the main draw.
Advancing in much less dramatic fashion was wildcard entrant Zhang Shuai, a 75 63 winner over Johanna Konta to match her best WTA outing - a semifinal showing that also came in Guangzhou in 2010. She is Guangzhou's only semifinalist yet to surrender a set.
Friday's semifinals will see Meusburger take on Zhang and Zheng square off with King. Meusburger has won three of her four meetings with Zhang, and Zheng got the better of King in their one previous encounter.