(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with latest results; ADDS photos)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) — Former Grand Slam winners Jelena Ostapenko and Emma Raducanu will square off in the semifinals of the lone annual WTA tournament in South Korea on the weekend, following their breezy quarterfinal victories Friday.
Ostapenko knocked off Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2, 6-1, in the quaterfinals of the Hana Bank Korea Open at Olympic Park Tennis Center in Seoul. Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open winner, is the top seed here and is now two wins away from her second career Korea Open crown.
Earlier Friday, Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, defeated Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-2 in her quarterfinal match.
The other semifinal match on Saturday will pit No. 2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia against No. 7 seed Tatjana Maria of Germany.
Ostapenko had eked out back-to-back three-set wins to get to the quarters, but had a much easier time against Jimenez Kasintseva, the first Andorran to reach the quarterfinals of a WTA tournament.
Jimenez Kasintseva won the first two games of the opening set but Ostapenko snuffed out any possibility of an upset by winning the next six games to claim the first set.
It was much the same story in the second set, with Ostapenko jumping out to a 4-1 lead in about half an hour. Jimenez Kasintseva had no answer for the barrage of Ostapenko’s groundstrokes, and didn’t win another game the rest of the day.
Raducanu, from Britain, has not won a title since her Cinderella run to the U.S. Open title last year. This was also just her third quarterfinal appearance since then.
Raducanu broke Linette to start the match, and rode her superior groundstrokes to take the next game for a 2-0 lead.
Raducanu broke Linette for the second time for a 3-0 lead and held her serve to open up a 4-0 lead after just 15 minutes.
Linette got on the board in the next game, as her serves finally showed some zip, but Raducanu returned the favor to go up 5-1.
Linette held her serve again to extend the set, but Raducanu closed out the opening set by once again overwhelming Linette with her groundstrokes.
The players traded a game each to begin the second set. After Raducanu broke Linette to go up 2-1, Linette took a medical timeout to treat an apparent leg injury.
And Linette never got her groove back, as Raducanu grabbed the next three games in a row for a commanding 5-1 lead. Linette battled back to get a game back but in the very next game, Raducanu quickly put her finishing touch on what seemed to be an inevitable victory.