JURMALA, Latvia -- No.6 seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia moved one step closer to her third WTA singles final in the last 12 months, as the 18-year-old outlasted resurgent Patricia Maria Tig of Romania, 6-4, 0-6, 6-4, to reach the semifinals of the Baltic Open on Friday.
"It was such a rollercoaster," Potapova said, after the match. "I’m so happy that I got this big win and I’m going to do everything to recover and prepare for my semi-final."
World No.64 Potapova, who reached the finals of the Moscow River Open and the Tashkent Open last year, earned a spot in her second WTA semifinal of the season after overcoming Tig after two hours and 11 minutes of play.
The Russian had 33 winners, 13 more than Tig's 20. Potapova won despite dropping serve nine times in the match, once more than Tig did, and firing 13 double faults. It is only the sixth time a player has won a match this season hitting 13 or more double faults.
Potapova had beaten Tig in their only previous match, in the first round of Wimbledon qualifying in 2017, which was one of Tig’s last events before she missed the entirety of 2018 due to injuries, and then motherhood. Tig played her first WTA main draw since 2017 last week, making it all the way to the Bucharest final, and had another strong showing this week despite today’s loss.
"I knew that she’s going to fight, that she’s going to play her best, because at the time she left the tour she was on a really top level and was a very dangerous player to play against," Potapova stated. "So I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy."
In the final four, Potapova will face either No.1 seed and home favorite Anastasija Sevastova or a second straight Romanian, Irina Bara.
After an early exchange of breaks, Tig went ahead 3-2 via a forehand pass on break point. Potapova, however, exhibited a variety of backhand prowess to break Tig in the next game and level the set at 3-3. Double faults nearly caused Potapova to cede the next game, but she survived three of those miscues and eked out a hold to go up 4-3.
The Russian then blasted back-to-back forehand winners to notch a crucial break and lead 5-3. Potapova was unable to serve out the set in the following game, squandering a set point, but she claimed two more chances in the following game. After a searing down-the-line shot queued up her third set point, Potapova earned the opening frame after a long backhand error by Tig.
However, the second set was one-way traffic for Tig. The Romanian claimed a hard-fought service break in the opening game after Potapova double faulted on the fourth break point, and Tig slid into a run of 11 straight points as she swiftly claimed a double-break lead.
After attaining a third service break, Tig cruised through her final service game of the set. The Romanian fired an ace to move to triple set point, and though a strong return by Potapova helped her erase one of those chances, Tig converted on her second opportunity after a solid serve was returned long.
In the decider, the players exchanged breaks twice before Potapova broke for the third time in the set, at love, to take a 4-2 lead. The Russian, however, failed to serve out the match at 5-3, hitting the last of her 13 double faults on break point to allow Tig back on serve.
In the next game, though, Tig quickly fell behind 0-40, providing Potapova three match points. After a good return by Potapova on the first, Tig blasted a backhand long, and Potapova had pulled off the victory.