GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- No.3 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany is still the highest-remaining seed in the draw of the Abierto Zapopan, a WTA 125K Series event, but she needed to mount a tremendous comeback to get to the semifinals, fighting from a set and a break down to defeat Serbia's Olga Danilovic, 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 on Thursday.
Maria, one of the young mothers on tour, won her first WTA title on the grass courts of Mallorca last season, but she faced in 18-year-old Danilovic one of the up-and-coming youngsters on the WTA. Danilovic also won her first-ever WTA singles title last year, at the Moscow River Cup as a lucky loser.
Danilovic claimed two-thirds of Maria's second-service points to clinch the first set, and led by a double-break, 4-1, in the second set. Maria clawed one break back but Danilovic still served for the match at 5-4. The teenager was unable to close, and Maria pulled the nearly hour-long set out in a tiebreak.
Danilovic dropped her first three service games of the deciding set, and Maria eventually hung on from there to claim victory after two hours and 13 minutes and lead the field into the final four.
Maria's semifinal opponent will be Veronika Kudermetova, who also claimed an extremely narrow quarterfinal win on Thursday. The Russian overcame No.7 seed Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, in two hours and five minutes to reach the semifinals.
Pliskova won the first set and went up an early break at 2-1 in the second set before Kudermetova broke back for 2-2. Much later, Kudermetova did not convert any of five set points in a 25-point game on Pliskova's serve at 6-5, but the Russian steeled herself to win the tiebreak at the end of an hour-long set. Kudermetova then eased through the final set to clinch the comeback win.
Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic will play in the other semifinal, as she got past home country favorite and wild card Renata Zarazua, 7-6(8), 6-2. Bouzkova squandered two set points prior to the first-set tiebreak, and then fended off four set points held by Zarazua in the tiebreak, before the Czech eked out the one-set lead after a grueling 69 minutes.
Bouzkova's opponent in the final four will be Fiona Ferro of France, who upset No.8 seed Magda Linette of Poland, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, in two hours on the dot.