PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The breakthrough week of Swiss qualifier Jil Teichmann continues unabated, as the 21-year-old eased into her first WTA singles final with an upset of 9th-seeded Czech Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-0, in the semifinals of the J&T Banka Prague Open on Friday.
"It's been a very nice week, an unbelievable week," Teichmann told the media, after her victory. "I'm feeling great here in Prague, so I'm very happy."
In the first meeting between the two players, World No.146 Teichmann had little trouble dispatching World No.39 Strycova in 76 minutes, for the left-hander's best win of her career by both ranking and tournament round.
Teichmann fired 22 winners in the match, doubling Strycova's total of 11, and the Swiss player only had 14 unforced errors during the encounter. Meanwhile, Strycova had 19 unforced errors during the tilt. The Czech also went 0-for-4 on break points -- all of which came in a single game early in the first set.
"[Strycova is] a great player, a very solid player, playing at home," said Teichmann. "That makes her even more dangerous. I felt very good on court, so I could do my game. That made the difference."
A first-time WTA singles champion is therefore guaranteed in Prague, as Teichmann will face fellow first-time finalist Karolina Muchova in the championship match. 22-year-old Czech wild card Muchova clinched a spot in her first-ever final with a 6-2, 7-5 semifinal win over American Bernarda Pera on home soil.
"We've never played against each other, but we practiced for the first time this week," Teichmann stated. "It's the first time for both of us in the final, and it's really great. I'm looking forward to it."
Many lengthy rallies took place on the clay courts of Prague in the opening set, but from the outset, Teichmann was often able to use her powerful shots to eventually break down Strycova’s stellar defense. Strycova dropped serve at 1-0 with a backhand unforced error on break point, and Teichmann went on to race to a 3-0 lead.
Strycova had four break points at 3-1, tantalizingly close to pulling back on serve, but the strong hitting of Teichmann stayed solid, and the Swiss qualifier gutted out a hold for 4-1. Teichmann’s next service game was much more straightforward, holding at love with an ace for a 5-2 lead.
Strycova grinded her way to a difficult service hold for 5-3, but Teichmann blasted her way to triple set point with a thunderous overhead in the next game. A double fault and two errors caused Teichmann to slide back to deuce, but a missed return by Strycova gave the Swiss player a fourth set point, which was converted with a putaway at the net.
After winning the first set, Teichmann cruised towards the upset win from there, using excellent returning to open up another 3-0 lead in the second set. Teichmann was stingy on serve as well, holding at love to reach 4-0.
Strycova charged the net often as the match progressed, but the former Top 20 player’s volleys were outgunned by Teichmann’s pinpoint winners on the day, as the Swiss player broke again to lead 5-0. Serving for her biggest win, Teichmann was wholly unbothered, and struck a forehand winner for another love hold to garner her seventh straight game and a spot in her maiden WTA final.