(Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
Caroline Dolehide defeated Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-3 in a semifinal matchup of unseeded U.S. players on Friday, advancing to the title match of the Guadalajara (Mexico) Open Akron.
Dolehide, a 25-year-old who is ranked 111th in the world, had never previously been to a WTA Tour semifinal. Only once has a player ranked lower than Dolehide reached the final of a WTA 1000-level event, when then-No. 153 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia fell in the title match at Cincinnati in 2019.
Thanks to a 78 percent win rate on first-serve points, Dolehide got past Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion.
In the final, Dolehide will square off with second-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, who routed third-seeded Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-0 in the second semifinal.
Sakkari, 28, is seeking her first WTA 1000 championship, having lost the finals at Indian Wells, Calif., and Guadalajara last year.
Unseeded Xiyu Wang of China will have home-country advantage when she faces top seed Magda Linette of Poland on Saturday for the title at Guangzhou.
Wang won her semifinal match against seventh seed Greet Minnen of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in 89 minutes on Friday. Linette cruised past unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 in 76 minutes in the other semifinal.
Wang and Minnen had not played each other on the tour. Wang converted four of seven break-point opportunities, while Minnen managed only 2 of 10. Wang compensated for five double faults with three aces. Minnen had just one of each.
Linette won 75.9 percent of her first-serve points (22 of 29), to 62.2 percent (23 of 37) for Putintseva. Linette was good, too, on second-serve points at 72.7 percent (16 of 22) to 30 percent (3 of 10) for her opponent.
Linette converted three of six break points, to none in three opportunities for Putintseva.
--Field Level Media