AUCKLAND: Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu continued her fairytale run through the WTA Classic yesterday, stunning third seed Hsieh Su-Wei to set up a final against defending champion Julia Gorges.
The 18-year-old qualifier’s 6-3, 6-3 semi-final triumph followed victories over two former world number ones, the now number three Caroline Wozniacki and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.
In contrast, second-seed Goerges who beat Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) in her semi-final has not faced one seeded player all week.
For the unflappable Andreescu, ranked 152nd in the world, it is the first final of her fledgling career after arriving in Auckland with the simple aim of getting through the qualifying tournament.
She has surprised even herself with the way her baseline power, drop shot finesse and all round athleticism have come together.
“I guess Auckland brings out the best in me. I don’t know what’s going on really,” she said after defeating Hsieh.
“What’s really important for me is to stay in the present moment and I’ve been doing that all week and I’m beyond grateful right now.”
With a place booked in the final, Andreescu is also eyeing a qualifying spot in the Australian Open main draw because her ranking is not high enough for direct entry.
Goerges was in near perfect form as she raced through the first set in under 30 minutes with a power game that forced Kuzmova well behind the baseline.
But the second set took twice as long as Kuzmova found the 30-year-old German’s weak spot.
“In the first set I didn’t give her any chance to get her rhythm and I was very aggressive,” Goerges said.
“In the second she pushed me back, which I don’t like actually but that happens sometimes, and I’m very happy that I pulled it out at the end.
“You never know where you’re at coming into the first tournament of the year but obviously I’m very happy to be in the final again.”