BRONX, NY, USA -- Camila Giorgi of Italy moved into her second singles final of the month on Friday, saving four match points en route to outlasting top seed Wang Qiang of China, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) in a closely contested semifinal tussle at the NYJTL Bronx Open.
"Each point, I was there," Giorgi told the press, after her hard-fought victory. "I was trying to do my best, run the balls down and play my game."
Giorgi needed two hours and 38 minutes to overcome World No.18 Wang, withstanding one match point at 5-4 in the final set and three more in the tiebreak. Giorgi came back from 3-6 down in the breaker to earn her second singles final appearance of the season after reaching the championship match at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. three weeks ago.
"It’s weird, because I didn’t have so many matches this year," Giorgi said about her recent run of form, after missing three months of action in the spring due to a wrist injury. "But I think I was very consistent, and I was focusing on each point. Nothing else."
The Italian improved her head-to-head lead against Wang to 3-0, as she moves one win away from earning a third career WTA singles title. Both players broke serve eight times during the barnburner, before Giorgi won the final five points of the tilt to eke out the win.
World No.58 Giorgi will now take on Polish qualifier Magda Linette for the NYJTL Bronx Open championship. Linette, seeking her first-ever WTA singles title, ousted No.5 seed Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, 7-6(3), 6-2, in the day’s first semifinal.
Giorgi won their only prior meeting in three sets, which came in Linette's home country, on the hardcourts of Katowice, Poland in 2015. "I think I’ll go the same way: focus on my game, and that’s all," Giorgi said, looking forward to the championship final.
In the opener, Giorgi fired a forehand winner to break Wang in the top seed’s first service game and take a 2-0 lead, but Wang immediately struck back after a glut of errors from the Italian to pull back on serve at 2-1. Wang continued her run by breaking Giorgi for a second time after a wide backhand down the line by the Italian.
Wang continued to pull through close service games with well-timed strong serves, and eventually had reeled off five straight games to serve for the opening set at 5-2. Giorgi used deep, aggressive returns to claw one break of service back, but Wang had a second chance to close out the set at 5-4, which she did with aplomb at love.
Giorgi again took an early lead in the second set, ending a rally with a backhand winner down the line to go up 2-0. Once more, however, Wang immediately got back on serve after errors by Giorgi. The combatants traded breaks once more as they moved to a 4-4 tie, with increased power from Giorgi being matched by Wang’s exceptionally adept defense.
At 5-4, though, Giorgi earned a chance to level the match through a combination of her aggressive play and poorly-timed miscues from Wang. A long rally forehand by Wang gave Giorgi a set point at 30-40, and the Italian took her opportunity, blocking a strong Wang serve back with a deft return, leading to a wide forehand error from the top seed.
In the final set, Wang twice went up at 2-1 and 3-2 before Giorgi broke back each time. Wang, however, reclaimed the break lead once more at 4-3, taking Giorgi’s serve at love after she was helped along by two double faults from the Italian. Wang finally was able to consolidate one of her breaks, and she reached 5-3, putting her a game away from victory.
Serving for the match at 5-4, Wang reached her first match point after a netted backhand error from Giorgi, but the Italian saved it, powering through Wang’s defense with a backhand winner. Giorgi then used two fiery forehands in a row to earn the break, suddenly putting the match back on level terms at 5-5.
This spurred Giorgi on to hold for 6-5, and, in the next game, it was her turn to hold a match point, after a strong backhand forced a wide error from Wang. But Wang blasted an error-forcing forehand of her own to erase Giorgi’s chance, and the top-ranked Chinese player maneuvered to a hold for 6-6, setting up a decisive tiebreak.
Wang built up a commanding 5-3 lead in the breaker, and after a backhand error from Giorgi, Wang held three more match points. Giorgi, though, cranked up her game when she most needed to, staving off all three of those match points, and punctuating that run with a winning volley as she reached 6-6.
A winner came off the Giorgi forehand side in the next point, suddenly setting up the Italian’s second match point. There, Wang sent a backhand long at the end of a rally, and Giorgi had escaped with a victory as she aims for her first title of the season.