NEWPORT BEACH, CA, USA – No.6 seed Bianca Andreescu saved two match points to outlast No.2 seed Tatjana Maria and move into the championship match of the WTA 125K Series event in Newport Beach on Saturday, rallying to win, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(3).
Despite leading by an early break in the second set, the World No.106 held from 15-40 down on serve in the 10th game to ultimately prolong the match and send it to a decider.
Once there, Andreescu was a break up a total of three times only to see the German veteran pull off a rally of her own, sending the match to a winner-take-all tiebreak with a love break as the teenager served for the match.
After winning the first three points of the breaker, Andreescu lost the next three en route to the change of ends, but steadied herself to move into her second final in three tournaments played this season by winning the last four points.
The two hour, 49-minute win was in stark contrast to Andreescu’s upset of No.3 seeded compatriot Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals, as the younger Canadian surrendered just two games in that match on Friday to win in under an hour.
The 18-year-old will face No.7 seed Jessica Pegula of the United States, who defeated compatriot Lauren Davis in the other semifinal, 6-3, 6-4.
The World No.113 had a much easier passage into the championship match than Andreescu, as she built 5-0 and 5-1 leads in each set, respectively, against her American compatriot, but ultimately needed two chances to serve out each set.
The event is the penultimate stop in this year’s Oracle Challenger Series, which also consisted of WTA 125K Series events in Chicago and Houston last year, and a final event in Indian Wells beginning on Feb. 25.
The top two American women’s and men’s points-getters over the course of the Series receive wildcards into their respective singles main draws at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Should Pegula come through Sunday’s final, she will pass Davis as the leading Amercian in the standings.