Canada's Leylah Fernandez advanced to her first final of the season after defeating No.5 seed Anna Blinkova 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open. Ranked No.60 at the start of the tournament, Fernandez has lost two sets in Hong Kong. She is bidding to capture her first Hologic WTA Tour title since 2022 Monterrey.
Fernandez will face No.85 Katerina Siniakova in Sunday's final. A win would give the 21-year-old Canadian a title in each of her last three seasons.
"This match was extremely tough," Fernandez said. "Anna, she's a tremendous player, very powerful, and she's coming in with a lot of confidence.
"The first set I played well, the second set she started making more balls and being very aggressive. I just tried to stay calm. I remembered my coach's words to me: this is a battle, just enjoy it, have fun and put on a show for everyone."
And put on a show she did. Coming into the match off wins over top seed Victoria Azarenka (by retirement) and teenage phenoms Mirra Andreeva and Linda Fruhvirtova, Fernandez overpowered Blinkova to avenge her straight-sets loss this summer at Bad Homburg. Fernandez struck 29 winners to Blinkova's 17 and broke serve on four of nine break points.
Blinkova could manage just one break point in the match.
"I don't want to jinx it, but I'm getting there," Fernandez said. "Slowly but surely, every match I've been improving, being more offensive, and hitting more targets. The fans are loving it and in turn I'm loving the support from the fans. It's encouraged me to keep going, to keep playing that way.
"Hopefully, soon I'll get back to a level that I'm proud of. and I can say this is what I've been working for."
In the second semifinal of the night, No.85 Siniakova eased past Martina Trevisan 6-4, 6-2 to advance to her second singles final of the season. Over the summer, Siniakova captured her fourth career singles title on the grass at Bad Homburg. On Sunday, she will try to win her first hard-court title since 2017 Shenzhen.
After winning her Bad Homburg title, Siniakova struggled through the summer hard court season, but the Asian swing has been a salve. In Ningbo, Siniakova won back-to-back matches for the first time since Bad Homburg, and she has lost just one set in Hong Kong. On her way to the Hong Kong final, Siniakova defeated Wang Xiyu, Kamilla Rakhimova, former champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Trevisan.
Fernandez and Siniakova have faced each other just once. That match went to the Canadian, a 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of Roland Garros in 2022. A win on Sunday would net Siniakova two titles this season. It would be the first time the Czech captured multiple singles titles in a season since 2017.