And then there were two

August 5, 2018 01:44 AM

Trailing one set to none, Maria Sakkari battled back from deficits of 4-1 in the second set and 2-0 in the third to defeat Danielle Collins in the second semifinal of the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San José Saturday, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. Sakkari won 12 of the last 15 games of the match, breaking Collins six times. 

Service games were strong for Collins in the first set, winning all five of her games and breaking Sakkari once to win 6-3. After Sakkari held serve to begin the second, Collins looked to have the match in hand, breaking Sakkari twice while holding a pair of service games and serving with a 4-1 lead. Sakkari then won four straight games herself to take a 5-4 lead, and after a Collins hold evened the set at 5, won the next eight points to capture the second set and advance to a third. 

In the third, Collins got out to another quick start, breaking serve to begin the set and then holding serve to lead 2-0. Unfortunately for the American, those were the last games she won as Sakkari took the next six in order to advance to her first career WTA final.  

In the first semifinal of the day #5 Mihaela Buzarnescu outlasted #4 Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. The first set saw just two lead changes as Mertens took the first two games before being matched by Buzarnescu, and then went up by a pair of games again to lead 4-2. Neither woman’s serve would be broken again in the set, giving the #4 seed the first set, 6-4. After having her serve broken in the first game of the second set, Buzarnescu responded with a service break of her own, starting a string of four straight games to lead 4-1. Despite back-to-back games by Mertens, Buzarnescu held on to win the second, finishing the set with two straight of her own. The third was much more one-sided, as Mertens held serve to begin the set and Buzarnescu took over, winning 26 of the final 38 points and six straight games to advance to the final on Sunday. It will be her third career WTA final. Both women are looking for their first ever WTA tournament win and will be facing each other for the first time.

The doubles final was also decided Saturday as the top four seeds faced off for a chance to play for the trophy Sunday. In the first match, the top seed, Latisha Chan and Kveta Peschke won in straight sets over #4 Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomaya, 6-1, 6-4. It was the first match of the tournament for Chan/Peschke after a first round bye and a walkover in the second round following an injury withdrawal. In the second match, the #3 seed, Lyudmyla and Nadiia Kichenok, upset the #2 seed pair of Buzarnescu and Heather Watson, 6-4, 3-6, (10-8). All three matches played by the Kichenok twins in this tournament have gone to a super tiebreaker, although Saturday’s was the first in which the pair won the first set. 

Championship Sunday will see the doubles final played on Stadium Court at 12:00 PM, with the singles final to follow no earlier than 2:00 PM.