JURMALA, Latvia -- Top Latvian Anastasija Sevastova picked up another win on home soil, as the No.1 seed overcame Irina Bara of Romanian, 7-6(3), 6-2, to reach the semifinals of the inaugural Baltic Open, the first-ever WTA event to be staged in Latvia.
World No.11 Sevastova had defeated Bara one year ago at the Moscow River Cup, needing three sets to get in the win in their only previous meeting. The top seed claimed a straight-set victory this time around, but had to plow through a grueling 67-minute opening set before cruising through a 37-minute second set.
The Latvian had 32 winners and the same amount of unforced errors, while World No.213 Bara managed 24 winners to 28 unforced errors. Sevastova faced 16 break points in total, but was able to stave off 12 of them, while she converted six of her eight chances.
Sevastova will now face No.6 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia in the semifinals, after the teenager overcame Patricia Maria Tig in an earlier quarterfinal.
There were dropshots galore in the early stages of the match, as both players deployed that shot with regularity. Four of the first six games went against serve, and Sevastova found herself in trouble again at 3-3, but the top seed staved off six break points in a seven-deuce game to hold on for 4-3.
Bara, however, kept her cool despite her missed chances, and fended off a break point to reach 4-4. The Romanian then attained a late service break to lead 5-4 after unforced errors from Sevastova, but she was unable to serve out the set, as the Latvian slammed a backhand winner on break point to reach parity again at 5-5.
Bara broke Sevastova once more, with a backhand winner of her own, and garnered a second opportunity to serve for the set at 6-5. Sevastova, though, again picked up her game, punching a volley winner to tie the set at 6-6.
After an hour of play, the players moved into a pivotal first-set tiebreak, where Sevastova double faulted to give Bara a 3-2 lead. That would be the Latvian’s final misstep of the set, as she pulled to 3-3 with a forehand winner crosscourt, and then went on a tear. Sevastova fired a stellar serve to reach triple set point at 6-3, and Bara responded with a double fault, ending the frame.
Sevastova, energized after emerging as the first-set victor, started the second set with a crosscourt winner to break for 1-0, then erased break point in the next game to consolidate for 2-0. Bara, who had a three-hour victory over Valentyna Ivakhnenko in the previous round, could not rebound quickly enough in the set, and dropped serve again to, eventually falling behind 4-0.
Bara got on the scoreboard, holding for 4-1, but Sevastova was untroubled on serve for the remainder of the match, and quickly moved to double match point at 5-2. On the first match point, Bara returned a strong serve into the net, and the Latvian No.1 was through to another match in front of her compatriot supporters.
More to follow...