No.6 seed Alison Riske of the United States and No.7 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil will square off for the first time on Sunday, as they compete for the Rothesay Open title in Nottingham.
Former Top 20 player Riske reached the 13th Hologic WTA Tour final of her career with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.
Riske took 2 hours and 22 minutes of play to garner the victory, while also withstanding a rain delay of over an hour at the start of the third set. Riske is now a win away from her fourth career singles title.
"[Golubic] is extremely tough to play out here, especially in these conditions," Riske said afterward. "It was a really challenging day, and honestly it was a huge win for me just personally, because it really took a lot from me to get over the hump today. I’m extremely proud of my effort."
World No.40 Riske continues to be one of the tour's top performers on grass. This is the 31-year-old's third final on the surface, and her second final in Nottingham, having been runner-up to Karolina Pliskova at the 2016 edition.
Riske also won a grass-court title at 's-Hertogenbosch in 2019, and her career-best Grand Slam result was a Wimbledon quarterfinal showing in 2019.
"I’m always so excited to be back on grass, playing on a surface that I’ve always enjoyed throughout my career," Riske said. "I’m just grateful to be healthy and playing some good tennis, and playing a final is always an honor. I’m very much looking forward to it."
After Riske and Golubic split sets on Saturday, the rain appeared and postponed play for an hour and a quarter following the first game of the third set. Upon resumption, three of the next four games went against serve, leaving Riske up a break at 3-2.
Riske held firm on her serve from there, dropping only two more points on delivery before closing out the victory. The American won 50 percent of her second-service points in the match, substantially higher than Golubic’s 27 percent success rate behind her own second serve.
1968 - Beatriz Haddad Maia is the first Brazilian female player to reach a WTA-level final on grass since Maria Bueno back in 1968 in Chestnut Hill, when she lost to Margaret Court. Redemption.@WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/PXieJYYbmR— OptaAce (@OptaAce) June 11, 2022
Earlier, Haddad Maia made a WTA singles final for the first time since 2017 by advancing past an ailing Tereza Martincova, 6-3, 4-1, ret. Martincova of the Czech Republic retired due to a right knee injury.
"Unfortunately, it is not the way I wanted to win," Haddad Maia said afterward. "But I think I deserve to be here [in the final]. I’m working very hard in all my matches. I think I gave everything, I left everything on the court, and I’m very happy to be in my first grass WTA final."
World No.48 Haddad Maia will attempt to claim her first WTA singles title on Sunday. In her lone previous WTA singles final, Haddad Maia finished as runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko at 2017 Seoul.
Haddad Maia has exhibited excellent form in recent weeks as she sits at her career-high ranking. During a two-week stretch in May, Haddad Maia went 9-1 at WTA 125 events on clay, winning the title in Saint-Malo and finishing as runner-up in Paris.
"I think I have a game that I can adapt from the clay to the grass," Haddad Maia said. "One of my qualities is that I'm very resilient, and I think on grass, you cannot think about the past, it’s only the next point, and I was trying to push myself every point."
On Saturday, Haddad Maia was too tough on serve in the first set, where she won 16 of her 19 service points and never faced a break point. Haddad Maia's 20 winners in the opening set doubled Martincova's total.
The Brazilian took an early 3-1 lead in the second set by converting a break point after Martincova found the net at the end of a lengthy rally. After Haddad Maia consolidated for 4-1, Martincova had a brief visit with the physio before ending the match.
Haddad Maia is the second Brazilian woman to reach a WTA singles final this season, following Laura Pigossi, who reached the final in Bogota on clay in April.