Kaja Juvan reached the semi-finals of the Portoroz Open on Friday. The Slovenian needed to pull off a double-duty after her second-round match played on Thursday had to be pushed to Friday due to rain. Juvan first beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6(1), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals where she took on compatriot, Tamara Zidansek, who’d received a walkover into the last eight.
Speaking after her second-round win, Juvan had said, “It’s quite uncomfortable to wait, warm-up and then interrupt. At this level of tournaments, you need to be maximally collected and play each point as best you can.
I did quite well today, but I know that I have a much harder job ahead of me in the evening against Tamara”. The 20-year-old went on to post an upset over her higher-ranked countrywoman, 7-6(4), 6-3 in an hour and 52 minutes.
The 103rd ranked Juvan won 68% of her first-serve points to Zidansek’s 60%. The biggest difference between the two players, however, was in the points each won off their second serves. While Juvan won 70% of her second-serve points, Zidansek could only manage 48%.
The youngster finished the match with 83 points to Zidansek’s 66.
Portoroz Open: Yulia Putintseva and Alison Riske complete SF line-up
In the semi-finals, Juvan will play third seed, Alison Riske. The American beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 30 minutes in their quarter-final match-up.
Second seed Yulia Putintseva posted yet another comfortable victory in the Slovenian city. The Kazakh defeated Italian qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 23 minutes. For a place in the final, Putintseva will take on another Italian, Jasmine Paolini.
Paolini upset the fourth-seeded Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in their last-eight encounter. Paolini needed two hours and six minutes to complete the win. The 87th ranked Paolini comfortably led by a set and break in the match before conceding the break back to the Romanian.
Cirstea ended up winning the second set. However, Paolini shrugged off her lapses in the second set and began the deciding set as she’d done the second, with a break. There was a brief moment of déjà vu for the Italian as she faced a break point at 3-1.
However, she saved it and went on to win the game. Thereafter, there was no looking back for her and she secured one more break to serve out the set in the seventh game. The Portoroz Open semi-final is the first time that Jasmine Paolini’s reached this far in a WTA event.