TOKYO: Fast-rising Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen powered into her first career final on Saturday at the Pan Pacific Open after a battling 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) win over Veronika Kudermetova.
The 19-year-old Zheng, who knocked out top seed Paula Badosa earlier this week, will face Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova in the Tokyo final after slugging her way past number four seed Kudermetova.
Zheng was ranked outside the top 150 this time last year, but she has since made the world sit up and take notice with a string of impressive performances.
She took a set off world number one Iga Swiatek in the last 16 at the French Open and has now risen to number 36 in the world rankings.
She will face Samsonova in the Tokyo final after the in-form Russian beat China’s Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in the day’s other semi-final.
The 23-year-old Samsonova has won the title at two of her last three tournaments and she was again clinical as she dismantled Zhang in 90 minutes.
Samsonova knocked out Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina earlier this week in Tokyo and defeated two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals.
Samsonova won titles in Washington and Cleveland in August before losing to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the last 16 of the US Open.