Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska defeated her third top 20 opponent in a row to make the Adelaide International finals with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) win over Aryna Sabalenka on Friday.
The 19-year-old’s blitzed world number 20 Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals of the Memorial Drive tournament and was a set up against former Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber when the German retired from their final 16 matches with back pain.
Yastremska, ranked 24th, will play for the fourth title of her career on Saturday against either Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty or American Danielle Collins.
“I’m pretty happy, this new season is off to a good start. I’m just doing my job on the court, playing my game. I do what I can on the court. I feel confident about heading to the Australian Open,” Yastremska said after defeating Sabalenka of Belarus for their third match in as many meetings.
Yastremska broke once per set while losing her own service once in the 106-minute showdown.
She finished on a third match point in the tiebreaker as Sabalenka hit the net on a return.
Yastremska claimed two WTA trophies last season at Strasbourg and Hua Hin, Thailand.
In the men’s competition, South African Lloyd Harris knocked out fellow qualifier Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 after coming through on his third match point.
The 22-year-old will play his first ATP career final against either second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or number three Andrey Rublev.
“To be honest, it doesn’t seem real now. It was a tough match for both of us, we were both nervous. I’m really, really happy with the win. I had to go for it when I was serving for the match, he was ready to make me play,” Harris said.
“I knew it would be tough to serve it out, I had to put everything I had into the end.”
Harris needed two hours and 11 minutes to advance over the American, firing 13 aces and breaking four times while losing his own serve twice.