No.6 seed Petra Martic of Croatia earned the eighth Top 10 victory of her career by upsetting No.1 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Upper Austria Ladies Linz semifinals on Saturday.
World No.34 Martic had lost her two previous meetings with Sakkari, including at the United Cup just last month. But the Croat upended that head-to-head with a 2-hour and 32-minute comeback over World No.7 Sakkari in Linz.
"A really good match today," Martic said, after her win. "Obviously, very physical, very long. Maria is a great player, she never gives you any free points, so you have to work really hard out there if you want to beat her.
"I think I played good from the beginning to the end. I used my serve really good, I tried to be unpredictable out there, and I think it made a difference in the end."
After splitting the first two sets, the third set went with serve all the way through 4-4. Martic, though, took the lead after three straight forehand errors by Sakkari from 40-30 up led to a break for 5-4.
Serving for the match at 5-4, Martic quickly powered to 40-0, and she converted her second match point with her eighth ace of the day. Martic is now in her sixth career WTA singles final, and she is aiming for her third career title.
Potapova outlasts Vondrousova
Martic will face No.8 seed Anastasia Potapova in Sunday's final. World No.44 Potapova defeated former Roland Garros finalist Marketa Vondrousova for the first time in three attempts with a 6-1, 6-7(4), 6-3 victory in 2 hours and 13 minutes.
"As I said yesterday, it was going to be a tough match with Marketa, she’s an unbelievable player," Potapova said after her win. "I stayed very focused mentally, and I think that was the key today to give me the opportunity to win and to be in the final here."
Potapova won 17 of the first 22 points of the day while cruising through the opening set. However, Vondrousova leveled affairs in the second set, regrouping after Potapova's comeback from 4-2 down to take the second-set tiebreak.
In the decisive third set, Potapova saw a 4-1 lead slip back to 4-3 as Vondrousova pulled back on serve. But Potapova quickly recovered to break again for 5-3, and she served out the match with ease to claim a spot in her fifth career singles final.
All told, Potapova had 37 winners to Vondrousova's 24, and she won over half of the points returning the Vondrousova second serve. Potapova is now a win away from her second career WTA singles title, with her first having come last year in Istanbul.
Martic and Potapova have split their two previous meetings. Martic won in three sets at 2019 Wimbledon, but Potapova defeated Martic in straight sets en route to her Istanbul title.