Cori Gauff and Karolina Muchova will play in Sunday's final of WTA 1000 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. It's career's first final appearance in WTA 1000 event for both the players, who achieved it by performing upsets on the world's number one and two in Saturday's semifinals.
Gauff breaks through at 8th attempt
The history of duels between Cori Gauff and Iga Swiatek was really harsh for the American so far. Both have played against each other 7 times so far and Gauff did not prevail to win any single set during all those one-sided matches. It was tough to pick Gauff as a pre-match favorite there, but the world's number 7 lives a good time during the US swing as she won the WTA 500 in Washington and achieved the QFs in Montreal. Gauff has capitalized on quite a formidable draw up until semis, as she approached the clash against Swiatek without losing a set against lower ranked opponents like Mayar Sherif, Linda Noskova and Jasmine Paolini.
Swiatek has started the match as expected, being the first one to gain a break advantage in 6th game. This was not enough to secure the easy win in opening set though, as Gauff fought back and forced a tiebreak after 4 breaks traded between both players and defending two setpoints in 12th, own service game. The resilience paid back, as Gauff was a dominant force in a tiebreak and clinched her first ever set won over Swiatek after more than one hour of play. The Pole needed to bounce back and regrouped well in second set, putting an immense pressure on Gauff in all service games of the American. Swiatek won by 6-3 with two breaks cushion and forced a decider.
While it looked like Swiatek will push forward and take the full control of this match in 3rd set, both the players were holding their serves well until 7th game, when Gauff produced first two breakpoints in this set and moved up into 4-3 lead with a break. The American was two holds away from sealing the huge victory and she survived this challenged despite facing breakpoints in both the crucial games. After converting her 4th matchpoint within own serve, Gauff broke the curse of loses against Swiatek and secured her first career's WTA 1000 final.
Muchova enters the world's top 10
This season is a huge journey for Karolina Muchova. The Czech who was repeatedly naggled by the injury issues, started the 2023 season as a player ranked 151th in the official WTA List. On Monday, less than 8 months later since then, Muchova becomes the world's top 10 player for the first time in her career. The recent Roland Garros finalist achieves her second final of a big tournament this year after defeating Aryna Sabalenka by 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2. The history repeats somehow, as Muchova achieved her best career's success so far by advancing into Grand Slam final in Paris after defeating Sabalenka in the semis. Even if it's not such a big surprise right now, it's still an upset, as Muchova was rated with an odd 2.81 prior to the Saturday's clash against the Belarusian.
The opening set was a rollercoaster which lasted more than 70 minutes and both players had their serious chances to take it. Sabalenka started well, leading by 4-1 with a single break, but Muchova responded with 4 games won in a row to get a chance of serving for the set. Sabalenka denied it and had a chance to close the set in the following service game of Muchova while having 3 setpoints, but the Czech came back from 0-40 down and forced a tiebreak. This has ended up in a favour of the world's number two, but it was the end of Sabalenka's good performance this afternoon.
Muchova has not discouraged herself after the course of events in first set and dominated the game since then. The Czech displayed a brilliant performance, being much more consistent and concrete player on the court in second and third set. Muchova did not face any single breakpoint since losing the opening set and created 9 chances during Sabalenka's serve, which resulted in a convincing win while coming back from being a set down. Muchova won by 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2 and prevailed her 4th three-setter this week. All of the completed matches played by the new world's top 10 player were settled in decider, apart from the quarterfinal against her fellowcountry Marie Bouzkova, who withdrew after 3 games due to an injury.