No.7 seed Aleksandra Krunic saved a match point and completed the fourth comeback win of the season to claim the second career WTA final at the Libéma Open. The Serb defeated 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(1) the two-time champion Coco Vandeweghe.
In the title-match, she will meet former finalist Kirsten Flipkens, who completed a tough 7-5 6-7(7) 6-4 win over rising Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova. The Serbian won their previous meeting in a Fed Cup clash two years ago. The top seed, who delivered 18 aces, was up 6-2 4-2 but Krunic gave the breakthrough saving two break points at 4-4 in the second set.
"I'm a little surprised, proud of myself and very happy. She's an awesome player and very powerful, and it's challenging for me to play against those players," Krunic said after the match, as the WTA website wrote.
"I was very happy that I was able to fight because I was a set and a break down and it's never easy - especially against CoCo." Coming into the semifinals, Vandeweghe led the field in terms of first serve points won, and she used it consistently for almost two sets.
Vandeweghe attacked Krunic's unreliable forehand, as she committed 13 unforced errors on that side. But the Serbian fought back and claimed a berth in her second WTA final after losing to home favorite Zhang Shuai at the Guangzhou Open last fall.
She converted the maiden break point in the second set and poured a streak of golden backhand winners to force a decider. In the third, in the tenth game, she won the point of the tournament sealing it with a magnificent diving volley, and remained in the ascendancy after Vandeweghe missed an easy forehand on match point.
The American won more points but proved too erratic in the following tiebreak, she owns a 5-5 record this season. So Krunic powered past the top seed and completed the tenth win in 12 matches in a final set tiebreak. Flipkens, beaten here in the 2013 final to Simona Halep, missed four match points in the second set, including three in the tiebreak.
Kuzmova found enuogh resources to win the second set tiebreak, extending her excellent record to 11-4 this season, and found herself 4-1 up in the deciding set. Flipkens, who failed to score a single point in Kuzmova's first three serving games of the set, delivered 44 winners and completed the 11th win in 13 three-setters played in 2018 and converted the fifth match point to seal the fifth career WTA final.