LINZ, Austria - Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova completed a stunning turnaround against Andrea Petkovic to reach the first ever WTA final of her career at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.
Down a love set against former World No.9 Petkovic, Alexandrova turned the tables and outlasted the German to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-0.
“I think in the first set she played, like, extremely well,” Alexandrova said in her on-court interview. “I didn’t have any chance to even start to play. But then in the second set I just tried my best, and when I finally won my first game it just kind of helped me to play better. And not to lose 0-6 again!”
Petkovic, a wildcard, was seeking a spot into her 12th WTA final of her career - and her first since February 2015 in Antwerp. But she was riding the back of a disappointing six-match losing streak in WTA semifinals - including Guangzhou and Washington DC earlier this year.
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But that didn’t stop her from notching the perfect start against Alexandrova in the Linz semifinals, playing aggressive and covering the court in the first set. Alexandrova won just five points across the first four games as Petkovic powered to a 4-0 lead.
The Russian seemed to find her rhythm late in the set, putting up some resistance to create her first break chances of the match - but Petkovic held firm, reeling off the next three games to win the set to love and start the second with a 1-0 lead.
But even that first game proved to be a challenge for Petkovic as Alexandrova’s game started clicking in the second set, and she had to fight off three break chances to hold serve. Alexandrova kept Petkovic under pressure for most of the exchanges, pushing her to deuce time and again before she was finally rewarded with the lone break at 3-2, defending it and converting her third set point to bring up a deciding set.
With Petkovic seemingly unable to find any answers, the final set slipped away from her very quickly. Alexandrova completely turned the tables to reel off all six games and sealing the match with an ace - her seventh of the encounter - to move into her first ever WTA final.
“When I arrived here and first saw the qualification draw, I thought I could finish in the second round, maybe reach the main draw,” she admitted. “I thought that was my maximum.
“But now I’m standing here and playing the final tomorrow, I think it’s amazing. It’s unbelievable.”
She’ll take on the red-hot Camila Giorgi, who needed two sets to dismiss Alison Van Uytvanck and reach her second career Linz final. The pair have played just once before, at 2016 Katowice, and Giorgi came back from a set down to record the victory 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“I think [Giorgi] plays very aggressive,” she said. “I remember the match in Katowice, and I think it’s going to be just ‘boom, boom, boom’ tomorrow. I don’t have a plan right now, but maybe I will think about it after this match. I just hope I do my best and play as good as I can tomorrow.”