No. 6 seed Alison Riske of the United States and No. 7 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil will meet for the first time on Sunday as they vie for the Rothesay Open title in Nottingham.
Former Top 20 player Riske reached the 13th Hologic WTA Tour final of her career with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic.
Riske took 2 hours and 22 minutes to claim the victory, while withstanding a rain delay of more than an hour at the start of the third set. Riske is now one win away from her fourth career singles title.
“[Golubic] is extremely difficult to play here, especially in these conditions,” Riske said after the bump today. I’m extremely proud of my effort.”
World number 40 Riske continues to be one of the best players on the grass court tour. This is the 31-year-old’s third final on the surface, and her second final in Nottingham, having been runner-up to Karolina Pliskova in the 2016 edition.
Riske also won a grass-court title at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2019, and her best career Grand Slam result was a quarter-final at Wimbledon in 2019.
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“I’m still so excited to be back on grass, to play on a surface that I’ve always enjoyed throughout my career,” Riske said. “I’m just grateful to be healthy and playing good tennis, and playing a final is always an honour. I’m really looking forward to it.”
After Riske and Golubic’s separate sets on Saturday, the rain set in and postponed play an hour and a quarter into the first game of the third set. On the restart, three of the next four games went against serve, leaving Riske on a break at 3-2.
Riske held firm on his serve from there, dropping just two more points on delivery before wrapping up the win. The American won 50% of her second-serve points in the match, which was significantly higher than Golubic’s 27% success rate behind her own second serve.
Earlier, Haddad Maia made it to a WTA singles final for the first time since 2017 by passing an ailing Tereza Martincova, 6-3, 4-1, ret. Czech Republic’s Martincova retired with a right knee injury.
“Unfortunately, that’s not how I wanted to win,” Haddad Maia said afterwards. “But I think I deserve to be here [in the final]. I work very hard in all my matches. I think I gave it my all, I left it all on the pitch and I’m very happy to be at my first WTA final on grass.”
World No. 48 Haddad Maia will attempt to win her first WTA singles title on Sunday. In her only previous WTA singles final, Haddad Maia finished second to Jelena Ostapenko in Seoul 2017.
Haddad Maia has been showing excellent form in recent weeks as she sits at the peak of her career. During a two-week streak in May, Haddad Maia went 9-1 in the WTA 125 clay events, winning the title in Saint-Malo and finishing second in Paris.
“I think I have a game that I can adapt from clay to grass,” Haddad Maia said. “One of my qualities is that I’m very resilient, and I think on grass you can’t think about the past, it’s just the next point, and I was trying to push myself at every point.”
On Saturday, Haddad Maia was too hard on serve in the first set, where she won 16 of her 19 service points and never faced a break point. Haddad Maia’s 20 winners in the opening set doubled Martincova’s tally.
The Brazilian took an early 3-1 lead in the second set by converting a break point after Martincova found the net at the end of a long rally. After Haddad Maia consolidated for 4-1, Martincova had a brief visit with the physio before ending the game.
Haddad Maia is the second Brazilian to reach a WTA singles final this season, after Laura Pigossi, who reached the final in Bogota on clay in April.