Kateryna Baindl collected both her quarterfinal and semifinal wins on Saturday to reach her second career WTA singles final at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
To kick off the day, World No.100 Baindl finished a weather-delayed quarterfinal against the last remaining Hungarian Fanny Stollar. The match was postponed after only two games on Friday, and Baindl came back in the morning to complete a 7-6(5), 6-3 victory over Stollar.
Baindl returned later in the day to win two come-from-behind sets in her semifinal against 88th-ranked Claire Liu, prevailing 7-5, 7-6(3). Baindl saved three set points at 5-4 in the first set, then battled back from 4-1 down in the second set to close out her lengthy day.
"I’m very happy to win two matches today, it wasn’t easy," Baindl said on court after her semifinal win. "I’m happy that I could handle that. It shows that I’m in good shape physically. This is good news.
“I tried after the first match to switch off and recover as soon as possible, and to be focused for the next one, and I’m glad that I could do it today."
Baindl's previous final came at Taipei in 2018, where she finished as runner-up to Timea Babos.
Maria Timofeeva joined Baindl in the final with a grueling 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 semifinal triumph over Nadia Podoroska. The 19-year-old Timofeeva needed 3 hours and 11 minutes to outlast former Roland Garros semifinalist Podoroska and make her first WTA final.
Timofeeva's latest win continues her breakthrough week at tour-level. The World No.246 lost in the final round of qualifying to Anna Siskova in a third-set tiebreak, but Timofeeva entered the main draw as a lucky loser to make her first main-draw appearance at a Hologic WTA Tour event.
Timofeeva has now taken that second chance all the way to the final. On Saturday, in only her second career match against a Top 100 player, Timofeeva held off Podoroska in a topsy-turvy final set, closing out the victory with a powerful backhand winner down the line.
"Well done to Nadia, she played a really great match," Timofeeva said on court. "It was really tough and she was fighting till the end, so big shoutout to her.
“I don’t know, it feels like a fairy tale to me. Even if I [wasn't] a lucky loser, it would be an unbelievable result to me, but as a lucky loser, I still can’t believe it. I’m a bit speechless right now."
Timofeeva is the first lucky loser to reach a WTA final since Jaqueline Cristian finished as Linz runner-up in November of 2021. The most recent lucky loser to win a Hologic WTA Tour singles title was then-15-year-old Coco Gauff, also at Linz, in 2019.