Camila Giorgi of Italy is into the first WTA 1000 final of her career after outlasting Jessica Pegula of the United States, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in their Omnium Banque Nationale semifinal battle.
"I'm very happy, because actually today was, I think, a great match, even if the second set maybe I didn't play my game," Giorgi told the press, after her win. "I lost a little bit the rhythm. But then I came back and was, I think, a third set, amazing."
World No.71 Giorgi, who beat Top 25 players Elise Mertens, Petra Kvitova, and Coco Gauff en route to the semifinals, added another upset to her list this week by taking down World No.30 Pegula in a hard-fought two hours and 11 minutes.
Pegula had beaten Giorgi in three of their four previous meetings at all levels; in fact, in their only prior meeting at tour-level, Pegula defeated Giorgi in the final to win her first WTA singles title at the 2019 Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
This time around, it was former Top 30 player Giorgi who ended up the victor, despite dropping her first set of the tournament. Giorgi had 27 winners to Pegula's 14, while having one fewer unforced error than the American.
"I think now I'm playing better," Giorgi said. "I know better how to choose the shots. When I need a little bit to slow down [or] accelerate. It's more variation in my game, I think. This is very important."
A rally forehand winner gave Giorgi the only break of the opening set for 3-1, and the hard-hitting Italian soldiered on from there, converting her third set point with an ace to clinch the one-set lead.
Pegula, though, regrouped from a medical time-out for her leg in the first set, and made her move in the second set. The American, matching Giorgi in power, jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and despite dropping serve at 4-2, recovered her break at love to lead 5-3. Pegula saved a break point in the following game as she leveled the clash at one set apiece.
Giorgi dropped serve in the first game of the decider, but that was her only misstep in the final set as she stayed steady with her fiery groundstrokes while Pegula’s errors increased. Giorgi collected six games in a row as she raced through the third set.
Now into the biggest final of her career, 29-year-old Giorgi will meet No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova for the championship. Pliskova took down top seed Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets in the day's first semifinal.
They have already met in one final, with Pliskova defeating Giorgi for the 2014 Linz title in a final-set tiebreak. Giorgi, though, has won their last two meetings during the last few weeks, ousting Pliskova from both Eastbourne and the Olympics.
"I think it's going to be another great match," Giorgi said. "I'm just going to focus on my game, like I do as usual, then we see. It's going to be a good match."
Giorgi will be seeking her third career WTA singles title, and her first on an outdoor hardcourt. She is the lowest-ranked Omnium Banque Nationale finalist since then-World No.80 Serena Williams won the title in 2011.