Linz: Top seed Jelena Ostapenko will lock horns with the previous winner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinals of the Linz Open after both eased through their quarterfinal matches at the WTA 500 tournament on Friday.
Following a dramatic second-round win over Clara Tauson in which she saved match points, Ostapenko needed only 70 minutes to defeat British qualifier Jodie Burrage, 6-1, 6-2, while Pavlyuchenkova defeated No.4 seed Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 to advance to her second tour-level semifinal since 2022 knee surgery, which forced her to miss eight months of action.
It was Mertens and Pavlyuchenkova’s first straight-sets encounter in their histories, with Pavlychenkova leading 3-1.
“Our last match … was 3 hours, and I was mentally prepared for similar. I think I was tired already before the match! I’m so happy with my performance because I think from the start ’til the end, I did so well. I was ready for every point because it didn’t matter the score, she’s always there. I think that’s one of the best qualities she has, such a good fighter,” Pavlyuchenkova said as quoted by WTA.
Pavlyuchenkova’s victory against Mertens stopped the top four seeds from progressing to the last round. In the second semifinal, No.2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova will face No.3 seed Donna Vekic, both of whom won their quarterfinals in straight sets.
Pavlyuchenkova enters the semifinals with a 4-1 head-to-head record against Ostapenko, looking for her first singles final participation since placing second to Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros in 2021. She has not won a tour-level singles championship since 2018, but she defeated German Anna-Lena Friedsam in the Linz final nine years ago and says it would be “a dream” to win in Austria again.
“It’s close, but so far at the same time. I haven’t had a trophy in a long time, so it would be really nice. It’s nice to be in the semifinals, so I’ll try to enjoy that, and of course, there are serious opponents out there, so I’m just going to take it match by match,” Pavlyuchenkova said.