Croatia’s Petra Martic and top seed Karolina Pliskova yesterday marched into the final of the inaugural Zhengzhou Open with commanding straight sets victories.
Seventh seed Martic dispatched Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-0, 6-3 in 67 minutes to reach her first premier showpiece, sealing victory with her third ace of the match.
Mladenovic had a mounting error count and six double faults, while Martic, who faced only one break point, broke her unseeded opponent four times, helping her win seven games in a row.
Czech Pliskova dominated her semi-final as she beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-2 in 68 minutes.
It was her third victory of the year over the Australian after wins in Brisbane and Rome.
World No. 2 Pliskova won 93 percent of her first serve points and broke four times en route to her fifth final of the season.
Despite three consecutive double faults in the second set, her superior counterpunching was also on display as she hit 28 winners, while Tomljanovic made 13 unforced errors.
Pliskova is to seek her first title in China today after finishing as runner-up in Zhuhai in 2015 and Tianjin last year.
Japan Women’s Open
Japan’s Misaki Doi yesterday upset Russian second seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 6-3 to set up a final with compatriot and doubles partner Nao Hibino at the Hana-cupid Japan Women’s Open in Hiroshima.
It is to be the first all-Japanese WTA Tour final in 22 years after Naoko Sawamatsu beat Yuka Yoshida in Jakarta in 1997.
Doi and Hibino are also in today’s doubles final, where they are to face Russian Valeria Savinykh and American Christina McHale.
Although Kudermetova fired down nine aces, Doi kept up with the powerful Russian, who is ranked 59 places higher at world No. 48, and broke three times in the 82-minute contest.
Doi broke early in the second set to take a 3-0 lead and although Kudermetova broke back to make it 3-2, the Japanese reclaimed a break advantage before serving out for the match.
In the day’s earlier semi-final, Hibino recovered from a set down to beat Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Hibino, ranked No. 146 in the world, was broken twice in the opening set to hand Buzarnescu the advantage, but stormed back in the second with nine winners.
Buzarnescu struggled on serve and faced 14 break points, with the 24-year-old Hibino converting six to move into the final after 2 hours, 10 minutes.
Doi and Hibino have beaten each other twice in their careers and both are seeking their second career WTA singles title.