‘s-Hertogenbosch | Sabalenka and Alexandrova will meet in the final

At the Libéma Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, top seed Aryna Sabalenka secured her place in the final by beating American Shelby Rogers, while 7th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova stormed past fellow Russian and 6th seed. series Veronika Kudermetova for the chance to face her on Sunday. .

It’s always nice to be in the final, especially here in the first grass court tournament. I certainly didn’t expect to be in the final in the first few games because I couldn’t feel the surface and everything was flying so far off the pitch, but I’m glad I was able to find my game here. Ekaterina Alexandrova

Sabalenka, who is Belarusian and, like Alexandrova and Kudermetova, plays as a ‘neutral’, had to save a set point before storming away to a 7-6(6) 6-0 win over Rogers in an hour and 35 minutes, while Alexandrova outscored Kudermetova, 6-3 6-1, heading home in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Playing in her 17th Hologic WTA Tour final and second of the year after Stuttgart in April, Sabalenka is playing her second on grass after Eastbourne in 2018.

Alexandrova, who beat Kudermetova for the first time in 3 attempts, will play her 4th title match at tour level, her first since Moscow 2021 and the first on grass.

Shelby Rogers held a set point but lost the breaker and was then bagged by Aryna Sabalenka

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Rogers, who was in contention for her 3rd career final and first since Rio de Janeiro 2016, pushed Sabalenka all the way in the opening act.

The No. 42-ranked American played a tactically shrewd set, deploying slice and net approaches to great effect, opting for placement over power and keeping her unforced error count down to 5 while finding 12 winners.

She came from 4-2 down to serve for the set at 6-5 but, at 30-30, rare back-to-back errors allowed Sabalenka to force the tiebreak.

The world No. 6 found her best tennis in the breaker just when she needed it, saving a set point by warding off a slice winner from a clumsy net cord, then hammering a forehand to convert her own first set point.

From there, Sabalenka rolled, breaking Rogers 3 times in the second set, with the 24-year-old finishing with 22 winners on 16 unforced errors for the game.

Rogers, however, managed to find the hit of the match, an absurd reflex drop shot winner in the 3rd game of the second set.

“It was a great match there, she pushed me a lot and she played so well in the first set especially,” Sabalenka said afterwards.

Ekaterina Alexandrova defeated Veronika Kudermetova for the first time in three attempts on Saturday

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Earlier, Alexandrova, ranked 30th in the world, put up one of the cleanest performances of her career to dispatch Kudermetova, with the 27-year-old dropping just 5 points behind her first delivery and saving 3 of the 4 break points at which she faced.

Alexandrova backed up her formidable serve with a series of spectacularly angled forehands and was coolly effective in the majority of the important moments, converting 5 of the 6 break points she brought on Kudermetova’s serve.

Kudermetova was coming out of the first Grand Slam quarter-final of her career at Roland Garros and trying to reach her fourth final of 2022, but she racked up 20 unforced errors against just 6 winners, while Alexandrova finished with 21 winners and 14 unforced errors. .

“It’s always nice to be in a final, especially here in the first grass court tournament,” Alexandrova said. “I didn’t expect to be in the final in the first few matches because I couldn’t feel the surface and everything was flying so far off the pitch, but I’m glad I could find my game here.”

Sabalenka and Alexandrova have shared 4 previous encounters with 2 wins each, with the 7th seed winning their last encounter, 6-3 6-4, in the quarter-finals of Moscow 2021, but Sunday’s final will be their first encounter on grass.

Veronika Kudermetova couldn’t handle Ekaterina Alexandrova’s serve on this occasion

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