German teenager Noma Noha Akugue continued her fairytale run in her hometown tournament, defeating Diana Shnaider in straight sets to make the Hamburg Open final on Friday.
Wild card Akugue, ranked 207 in the world and playing in her first WTA main draw event, said she was “speechless” after winning through 6-3, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Dutch seventh seed Arantxa Rus.
“A week ago, I didn’t even know if I would get a wild card,” Akugue said, adding she “could not believe” her run had continued to “my first final” on Saturday.
“I hope I can keep playing my best tennis in the final.”
Akugue, born in Hamburg to Nigerian parents, broke her fellow 19-year-old twice in the first set and once in the second to continue her breakout run in the tournament.
Demonstrating poise and calm, she blocked her Russian opponent from converting any of six break points.
After her quarterfinal win over one-time French Open semifinalist Martina Trevisan, Akugue said she tried to keep her emotions under control, playing tennis “with a poker face”.
Earlier on Friday, Dutch seventh seed Rus booked her spot in the final after coming from a set down to defeat Australian Daria Saville.
Rus, 32, lost the first set 6-2 but rallied to win the next two 6-3, 6-1 on the Hamburg clay.
The victory puts Rus on course for a third consecutive tournament victory, after winning titles in her native Netherlands as well as France in July. She won her first ever tournament in June.
Rus hit a career high world number 60 after her quarterfinal win over German Eva Lys on Thursday, one spot higher than the 61 she reached more than a decade ago in 2012.
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