Veronika Kudermetova stunned world no.3 Jessica Pegula 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in a topsy-turvy quarterfinal clash on Wednesday to reach the Madrid Open semi-finals. The Russian Kudermetova recovered well after collapsing in the second set to rally past the five-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Pegula in three sets to reach a WTA 1000 event semi-final for the first time in her career. The Russian clinched a crucial victory with an ace on her second match point in the decider set. Kudermetova registered her fourth consecutive three-set win in the tournament.
On the other hand, the 29-year-old Pegula was bidding to reach her second consecutive final in Madrid. The experienced American was runner-up to Ons Jabeur at the clay-court tournament last year. The 12th-seeded Kudermetova will lock horns with world no.1 Iga Swiatek to find a spot in the Madrid Open summit clash. The Pole star defeated Croatian Petra Matric in straight sets 6-0, 6-3 to advance into the semis.
Kudermetova had reached two other semifinals this year, in Adelaide and Doha. Kudermetova is proving to everyone that she is a tough contender for the title as the 26-year-old Russian is on a good run after entering the clay-court tournament on a four-match losing streak.
Kudermetova started well and dominated to get the points with ease. Though Pegula bounced back to make it tough, the Russian battled well to seal the first set. But Kudermetova tumbled down in the second set as she appeared to tire. The Russian made several unforced errors as last year’s finalist Pegula capitalized on those opportunities to triumph easily in just 22 minutes, winning 83 percent of points and forcing a decider.
However, after a medical time-out, Kudermetova rallied in the decider, with both players breaking the other twice for 3-3. Kudermetova kept her cool and delivered well on crucial situations to gain a 4-3 lead which she was able to consolidate before serving it out. Pegula saved one match point but Kudermetova sealed the match with her fourth ace of the match.
To beat Jessica it feels very nice, I am so proud of myself because every match I played almost three hours, and today it was only two hours so I feel fresh, said Kudermetova. I started to play so badly in the second set but before the third set, I said Veronika, you need to try to play your best, because the fans are here. I want to show you some energy, she concluded.