Teen Fruhvirtova posts comeback victory to reach maiden WTA final

Linette progressed as her opponent, Katie Swan from Great Britain, handed a walkover when she was 0-3 behind in the opening set of the second semi-final.
Linda Fruhvirtova
Linda Fruhvirtova

CHENNAI: Thrill-a-minute teenager Linda Fruhvirtova roared into her maiden WTA final with a come-from-behind victory over Nadia Podoroska in a closely-contested Chennai Open 250 last-four match at the SDAT Tennis Stadium here on Saturday.

The 17-year-old Fruhvirtova completed the hard-fought 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory in two hours and 54 minutes, after converting the fourth match-point opportunity. Down 2-4 at one stage in the deciding third set, the Czech Republic youngster booked a spot in the title decider when her Argentine rival double-faulted.

“I was pretty much dead, physically as well as mentally. I tried to make the points shorter. After winning a few points, I kept believing and fighting,” said World No.130 Fruhvirtova, who will cross swords with Magda Linette of Poland in the summit contest on Sunday.

Linette progressed as her opponent, Katie Swan from Great Britain, handed a walkover when she was 0-3 behind in the opening set of the second semi-final. Having finished the last-eight match against Nao Hibino (Japan) in the early hours of Saturday, Swan had little turnaround between her quarter-final and semi-final encounters.

“It was important for me. This year has been solid for me, but I expected a little bit more from myself,” said Linette on reaching her first singles final of 2022. Meanwhile, in the doubles competition, the top-seeded combination of Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani posted a businessman-like 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Peangtarn Plipuech and Moyuka Uchijima.

The Dabrowski-Stefani duo will fight it out against the Anna Blinkova-Natela Dzalamidze pairing for the top prize. Chief Minister MK Stalin, who was invited in person by Tamil Nadu Tennis Association president Vijay Amritraj, is expected to be the chief guest for the finale.

Riveting match: In the first semi-final, Podoroska drew first blood by clinching the opening set that almost went the distance because of Fruhvirtova’s comeback. But, the Czech player forced a decider, controlling the second set from start to finish. In the third and final set, it was Podoroska who was in the ascendancy, but Fruhvirtova saved her best for the last, winning four successive games to earn a scintillating win.

“It was one of the toughest matches I have ever played. It was a huge battle. Respect to her (Podoroska). She pushed me to my limits,” said Fruhvirtova in an on-court interview. “She played spectacular tennis. When she was down, the crowd cheered for her. When I was down, they cheered for me. It was the best atmosphere I have ever played in,” added Fruhvirtova, who needed medical attention twice during the marathon match.

RESULTS: Singles: Semi-finals: N Podoroska lost to L Fruhvirtova 7-5, 2-6, 4-6; K Swan lost to M Linette 0-3 (Swan handed walkover in the first set). Doubles:Semi-finals: G Dabrowski/L Stefani bt P Plipuech/M Uchijima 6-3, 6-3.

FINAL LINE-UPS: Singles: L Fruhvirtova vs M Linette; Doubles: G Dabrowski/L Stefani vs A Blinkova/N Dzalamidze

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