14th seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Jana Cepelova of Slovakia rallied past their touted opponents to set up an unlikely championship Sunday in Charleston.
World No. 40 Andrea Petkovic’s fantastic week in Charleston continued, as she reached her first WTA final of the season with a three set victory over World No. 20 Eugenie Bouchard. Petkovic and Bouchard were locked in a gruelling battle in the semi-finals in Charleston. The match appeared to be clearly favouring the Canadian, who stormed to a commanding 4-1 lead, before winning the next two games to close out the set 6-1. The world No. 20’s standard of play would drop slightly in the second set, particularly in the tail end of the set, where Petkovic took advantage of her one successful break to snatch the set 6-3 and force a decider – to the delight of the crowd in attendance.
The third set featured the highest level of play from both competitors, as they fought valiantly to hold onto their respective service games. In the fifth game of the set, Bouchard began to trouble the German on her serve, focusing on her returns, before finally securing the break for a 4-2 lead. The world No. 40 would once again raise her game to break back for 4-4, before jumping to a 5-4 lead, and even held a match point on Bouchard’s serve. The Canadian stepped up to save the MP before powering through the following two points to level the match at 5-5. While the top ranked Canadian’s efforts should be commended, it was for naught, as Petkovic would hold serve and then break Bouchard in her final game to win 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.
“I’m just very happy. I’m just very emotional right now,” the always-popular Petkovic said in her on-court interview. “The match was really tough. Genie played so well today – she was so aggressive, and I have to admit I was a little lucky in the second set when I managed to turn the match around.
In the second semi-final of the day, unexpected semi-finalists Belinda Bencic and Jana Cepelova also took part in a tough three set battle, with each competitor facing opportunities to close out the match. While Cepelova was the stronger player early on, as she took the opening set 6-4, once again, as has become her trademark this week, Bencic recovered from the deficit to snatch the second set 7-5 and force a decider.
The battle continued into the final set, with both getting opportunities to break, yet it was even after 12 games, which meant a tiebreaker would decide the finalist between them. Cepelova started strong, yet quickly (and with the help of a questionable call) fell back to 2-4, but hit a magnificent winner to win back her break for 4-4, before pushing ahead 5-4. She would break again for 6-4, but would miss two match points to level the match once again at 6-6. With the cheering crowd showing their support for both competitors, Cepelova would take the following two points to secure the victory 9-7.
Prediction: Andrea Petkovic in Three Sets