No. 6 seed Emma Raducanu qualified for the last four at the Hana Bank Korea Open with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to No. 3 seed Magda Linette in 77 minutes. She will look for a place in the final against No. 1 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who defeated lucky 17-year-old loser Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2, 6-1 in 74 minutes.
The result marks the second tour-level semi-final of Raducanu’s career, and the first since winning the 2021 US Open as a qualifier. The 19-year-old is yet to drop a set this week in Seoul and next will face No. 1 seed Jelena Ostapenko or lucky 17-year-old loser Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva.
Throughout the game, Raducanu hit his groundstrokes with authority and was imperious on serve, dropping just one point behind his first delivery. This proved particularly useful as she avoided a potential turning point in the second game of the second set.
After a one-sided first set, Linette won two fabulous all-court rallies to hold a triple break point for a 2-0 lead. But the Briton responded with five straight points, including four solid one-two punches, to get out of trouble, then pulled off a remarkable game-winning comeback to break Linette in the next game.
Linette, who was coming off a run to the final in Chennai last week and took 2 hours and 46 minutes to defeat Kristina Mladenovic in the previous round, received treatment on her right thigh after the third game of the second set. With her movement visibly hampered, the Pole lost 14 of the next 17 points on the restart. Although Linette rallied for one last serve grab, Raducanu was able to close out the match with his third love grab of the day.
Ostapenko needed three tight sets to pass wildcard Jeong Boyoung and No. 141-ranked Anastasia Gasanova in her first two rounds this week. But the Latvian, who had saved a match point against Gasanova, put in her cleanest performance yet against Jimenez Kasintseva.
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Jimenez Kasintseva, ranked at No. 180, was making her quarter-final debut at tour level, and a heavy strike with her left-handed forehand put the Andorran in an early 2-0 lead. But Ostapenko reigned in his power, held his double fault tally to five and took control of the game with an eight-game winning streak.
Ostapenko advances to her fifth semi-final of the year, and her first since reaching the Eastbourne final in June.
Highlights: Ostapenko d. Jimenez Kasintseva | Alexandrova d. Sun | Mary d. Zhu
The bottom semi-final in Seoul will pit No. 2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova against No. 7 seed Tatjana Maria. Alexandrova saved a set point in the second-set tiebreaker to defeat No. 340-ranked Swiss qualifier Lulu Sun 7-5, 7-6(6) and advance to her fourth semi-final of 2022.
Maria needed just 59 minutes to rout No. 4 seed Zhu Lin 6-1, 6-1, edging out the defending champion with her variety of tricks and superb touch at net. The German mother-of-two is through to her third semi-final of the season, after Bogota and Wimbledon.