ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Renata Zarazua’s incredible run on home soil continued on Thursday, as the wildcard overcame Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to book a spot in her first-ever WTA semifinal at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.
"I’m just super happy," Zarazua told the media, after her win. "I think the crowd is being helpful for me every match. I didn’t expect it to be like this, so I’m just like living a dream this week."
World No.270 Zarazua, who shocked top seed Sloane Stephens in the opening round and earned a comeback victory over Katie Volynets in the second round, claimed her milestone victory over 74th-ranked Zidansek after an hour and 44 minutes of play.
"After I beat Sloane, I think it gave me confidence to just keep going," said Zarazua. "Yesterday I was really tired, so today my goal was to keep my energy safe. At the end, I ended up not even feeling tired. I think that the crowd got me pumped, and I was just going with the flow."
With her quarterfinal win, 22-year-old Zarazua notched a noteworthy win for her country, as she became the first Mexican WTA semifinalist since former World No.34 Angelica Gavaldon made the final four at San Juan in 1993.
It’s not midnight yet, Cinderella!— WTA (@WTA) February 28, 2020
Wildcard @RenataZarazuaOf continues her magical run slugging past Zidansek 6-2 3-6 6-2 to punch a semifinal ticket.
She’s the first 🇲🇽 to reach a WTA final four since 1993.#AMT2020 pic.twitter.com/ZIKRi0SNIi
Zarazua got off to a hot start, breaking Zidansek in the opening game of the tilt after her backhand down the line forced a netted error on the Mexican’s first break point of the match. The wildcard would continue to dominate in the first set, easing through her service games and earning a second break to clutch a commanding 5-2 lead.
The home hope polished off the opener in style, using a fierce forehand to force an long forehand error by Zidansek on set point. In the first set, Zarazua was nearly impenetrable on serve, getting 81 percent of her first serves in play and winning 76 percent of points when she did, never facing a break point during that timeframe.
Zidansek, though, turned things around in the second set. After saving one break point in a long game to hold for 2-1, the Slovene finally earned her first break point at 3-2, which she converted with a rally forehand winner.
Zarazua did not immediately capitulate, breaking an error-prone Zidansek back in the very next game to claw back on serve. But the Mexican fired a series of miscues in the game after that, ceding a second break in a row to Zidansek. The Slovene would not squander her chance to level the match, slamming three solid serves and a backhand winner to hold at love for the set.
But Zarazua was undeterred in the decider, and after missing a break point at 1-0, the Mexican broke her fellow 22-year-old for the first time in the set for a 4-2 advantage, after a Zidansek forehand found the net.
Zarazua finished the match in style -- once again, not facing a break point in the entire set -- as she broke Zidansek at love to close out the final set 6-2 and thrill the excited, cheering crowds on the Grandstand court.
Zarazua will battle 17-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the semifinals. Fernandez, the 190th-ranked qualifier, beat her fellow teenager, 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova, to reach her own maiden WTA semifinal.