Olga Puchkova ousts Venus Williams in Brasil Tennis Cup semis
Florianopolis, Brazil (4E Sports) – Olga Puchkova of Russia continued her resurgence at the Brasil Tennis Cup, beating top seed Venus Williams in the semifinal, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, Saturday to arrange a title clash against Monica Niculescu.
Niculescu broke all of Kristina Mladenovic’s seven service games en route to a 6-0,-6-2 victory over the seventh seed in just 63 minutes to advance to her third career final.
Niculescu and Puchkova will both gun for their first WTA title when whey clash for the first time Sunday. Both are 0-2 in the finals.
While Niculescu had an easier time, Puchkova needed almost three hours to beat Williams, as she recovered from a first-set loss and a 2-0 deficit in the final set.
Puchkova’s win over the 20th-ranked Williams was her third Top 20 win and her first in more than six years.
Puchkova’s first two wins over a top-20 opponent both happened in 2006 when she was a promising teenager. She defeated then-No.15 Ana Ivanovic in the first round of Bali and then-No.12 Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals in Quebec.
She went as high as No. 32 in the world ranking but fell to No. 86 by the end of 2007. Then, she finished outside the Top 150 the next four years straight.
Meanwhile, top Sara Errani defeated third seed Alize Kornet, 6-2, 6-1, to advance to the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel against second seed Carla Suarez-Navarro
Suarez-Navarro made it to the finals after beating Silvia Soler Espinosa, 6-2, 6-1.
On the men’s side, three-time defending champion David Ferrer of Spain marched into his fourth straight Abierto Mexicano Telcel final Friday after beating Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-1.
The fourth-ranked Ferrer has won 19 matches in a row at the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court event and is seeking his 21st ATP World Tour crown.
For the title, Ferrer will take on countryman and second seed Rafael Nadal, who beat another Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, 7-5, 6-4.
Meanwhile, top seed John Isner fired 17 aces to eliminate sixth-seeded defending champion Kevin Anderson 6-2, 7-6(1) in the quarterfinal of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Friday.
With the win, Isner avenged his defeat to the South African in the semifinal of the event last year.
For a spot in the final, Isner will face Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who reached his first ATP World Tour semifinal after beating lucky loser Ricardas Berankis, 6-4, 6-3.
Former champion Tommy Haas also advanced to the semifinal, topping Ivan Dodig 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-1. He will face 2010 champion Ernests Gulbis, who defeated Spanish qualifier Daniel Munoz-De La Nava, 6-1, 6-4.