MIAMI GARDENS: Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina reached the final of the Miami Open by beating American world number three Jessica Pegula 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday (Friday in Manila).
Kazakstan's Rybakina is on course to claim the "Sunshine Double" after winning in Indian Wells earlier this month.
The 23-year-old, ranked seventh in the world, will face the winner of Friday's semifinal between Petra Kvitova and Romanian Sorana Cirstea.
In a rain-disrupted match, neither player was able to settled into their serve with 11 breaks in total throughout the two sets.
But the contest turned decisively in Rybakina's direction when Pegula, on her serve, found the net on a return to go 5-4 down to the Moscow-born Rybakina.
Rybakina then held her serve with ease to secure back-to-back WTA 1000 finals.
Two-times Wimbledon champion Kvitova reached the Miami semifinals for the first time after fighting to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova on Thursday.
The Czech grabbed the first set, in the match which was postponed due to rain on Wednesday, after breaking Alexandrova on her second service game but the Russian fought back well.
Kvitova, ranked 12th in the world, held off four break-points at 2-2 and but was finally broken at 4-2 and Alexandrova held on to her serve to force a third set.
It was tight throughout until the 33-year-old Kvitova made the decisive break to go 5-3 up and then served out for the match, yelling out her delight and relief.
"I have to say it was a tough one, for sure, especially mentally. Ekaterina played amazing. I would say she was really striking the ball very cleanly and it was really difficult to face some of her serves. I'm glad that my serve helped me in important moments, especially in the third set," she said.
"The chance for a break came. I took it and yes, it was very emotional in the end. I'm very happy that somehow I found a way to win it," she added.
Her victory in two hours and 11 minutes ensures Kvitova a place in the last four at her 13th attempt in Miami and she will now face another veteran in the 32-year-old Cirstea.2023-03-31T17:55:44Z dg43tfdfdgfd