WASHINGTON: Italy’s Camila Giorgi, a 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finalist chasing her third career WTA title, advanced to the Washington Open final Saturday, ousting US teen Catherine McNally 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
World number 62 Giorgi smashed a forehand winner on match point to eliminate the 150th-ranked wildcard after 90 minutes and reach her seventh career final, only her second in the past three years.
“I played a good match,” she said. “I tried to be more aggressive than usual.”
The 27-year-old Italian, whose crowns include Linz last year and Rosmalen in 2015, will play Sunday for the US$43,000 WTA top prize against 79th-ranked American Jessica Pegula, who defeated 160th-ranked Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
“In the third set I wanted to come out fast and serve well,” Pegula said. “If I did, I knew I’d have a chance to break her and it worked out.”
Pegula is 2-1 against Giorgi, winning their most recent meeting in 2012 at Innisbrook, Florida.
“It’s going to be another good match,” Giorgi said.
Men’s ATP semi-final night matches will send Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev against German lucky loser Peter Gojowczyk.
Giorgi, nagged this year by right wrist injuries, was in her first semi-final of 2019.
“It’s not a drama,” she said of the injury. “What’s past is past. I’m focused on today.”
She jumped to a 4-1 tie-breaker edge. McNally leveled at 5-5 but then sent two backhands long to surrender the first set and was routed from there.
“I’m playing good,” Giorgi said. “It’s about practice and improving every day.”
Pegula lost her only prior WTA final last September in Quebec City to France’s Pauline Parmentier.
Pegula, 25, is the daughter of NFL Buffalo Bills and NHL Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, a natural gas tycoon.
Kalinskaya, 20, made the deepest run by a qualifier in tournament history to reach her first WTA semi-final.
McNally, 17, made her only prior WTA appearances in first-round losses at Indian Wells, Miami and Wimbledon.