LINZ, Austria - An all-Russian clash at the Upper Austria Ladies' Linz went the way of the junior compatriot on Friday, as 23-year-old Ekaterina Alexandrova reached her first WTA semifinal with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over No.6 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
The World No.119 was a break down in each set against her 27-year-old compatriot, but won the last five games of the opener and five of the last six games of the match to book a spot opposite wildcard Andrea Petkovic and play for her first WTA final.
The win is Alexandrova's second over a Top 50 player this week, as the Russian qualifier also ousted No.9 seed Katerina Siniakova in the opening round.
Alexandrova trailed 3-1 in the opening set in her first career meeting against her higher-ranked compatriot, after dropping three straight games following a first hold, but won her first break point of the match to level at 3-3.
She then battled through a tough opening service game to regain the lead, and won eight of the final nine points of the set to put herself comfortably ahead.
The second set unfolded in similar fashion, and though Alexandrova hit back at love to level the set at 2-2, she later dropped serve for a second time in the sixth game as Pavlyuchenkova sought a decider.
Nonetheless, the qualifier's form rounded up from there, as a break and an easy hold restored parity before Pavlyuchenkova stymied the momentum somewhat with a love hold.
The former champion even held a set point in the 10th game, but after that chance was erased by the younger Russian, she broke and held strongly to reach new heights on the WTA.
Up next for Alexandrova will be a former Top 10 player in Petkovic, after the German scored a 6-1, 6-3 win over Kristina Mladenovic.