Tsurenko survives Gavrilova, returns to Acapulco final

Defending champion Lesia Tsurenko earned a ninth straight victory at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC on Friday, as she held off a late charge from Daria Gavrilova to return to the final at the WTA International event, 6-2, 6-4.
Leading 6-2, 5-0 in the match, Tsurenko needed three opportunities to serve out the contest in the second set, and a total of seven match points overall.
"I think it was just getting more and more tough in the second set because her defense was just amazing," Tsurenko said after the match. 
"It was confusing for me and I made a lot of mistakes, probably because I lost some concentration, but I'm really happy I finished 6-4, and not getting to a tiebreak or something like that."
The Ukrainian No.2 showed why she owned a perfect head-to-head against her Australian opponent early on in the match, as she sprinted out to a 3-0 lead behind two breaks of serve to begin. 
Though Gavrilova managed to break serve twice in the first set, she never managed to hold her own delivery as Tsurenko broke her a total of four times in seven opportunities, and won seven straight games after losing serve in the sixth game of the opener.
The 23-year-old showed a measure of resistance in the second set as she broke for a third time to save the bagel and saved a total of four match points in a marathon, six-deuce game to earn her first hold of serve in the match. 
She pulled to within a game of parity thanks to another break and an emphatic hold, and even held a break point for parity at 5-5, but ultimately, however, the World No.40 ran her head-to-head against Gavrilova to 5-0 in one hour, 46 minutes.
The No.7 seed hasn't dropped a set this week in four matches, running her streak of sets won in the Mexican city to 17 - as she won all five matches last year without dropping one as well.
"I just really like it here, I think all the conditions for the tournament are just great and I know that all the players enjoy to play here," the Ukrainian said, when asked about her success at the event to date.
"The surface is great. I like to play on hard courts and I really appreciate that the tournament is playing on hard now." 
Tsurenko will have the opportunity to play for her fourth career WTA title against either Swedish qualifier Rebecca Peterson or Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele, who will square off in the day's second semifinal.
 For Stefanie Voegele, the ninth time proved lucky. 
The former World No.42, now ranked World No.183, defeated Sweden's Rebecca Peterson 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach her first career WTA final at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC on Friday night, with the victory breaking an 0-8 spell in tour-level semifinals.
"It was a tough match for me, but I'm very happy that I won and I'm looking forward to play again here tomorrow," Voegele said after the match. 
Playing in her first WTA semifinal in nearly two years, Voegele got off on the right foot nearly straight away by breaking the Swedish qualifier to love in the third game of the match.
Though the 22-year-old showed some of the form that took her to wins over Alizé Cornet and No.4 seed Zhang Shuai, among others, this week to immediately get back on serve, Voegele outsteadied her younger foe to another break in the fifth game.
This time, that stood up as the decisive margin, as the Swiss No.5 grew incresingly dominant on serve as the match wore on. Though she served at just 56% for the first set, Voegele dropped just three points behind her first delivery, and lost only one point on serve in the last two games.
The two players managed to create just one break point opportunity between them in the second set - which Peterson duly saved at 1-1 - as just four of the 12 games went to deuce. 
The Swede forced Voegele to serve to stay in the set twice, as precise hitting off the ground saw her rack up winners over the course of the set. 
Though Peterson found herself two points away from forcing a decider twice, Voegele stood tall in the clutch moments and sent the second set to a tiebreak after toughing out a hold from deuce in which she led 40-0. 
The Swiss twice led by a mini-break to begin, as six of the first nine points of the breaker went against serve.
It looked as though the Swede was going to force a decider as she built a 5-3 lead behind three points in a row, but Voegele would not be denied her spot in her first career final as she earned the last four points herself. 
Voegele will face off against No.7 seed and defending champion Lesia Tsurenko in Saturday's championship match. The Swiss trails in the head-to-head against the Ukrainian No.2, 4-1, but won their last meeting in 2016. 
Added the Swiss: "It will be a tough match tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to it."