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Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, maiden WTA finalist, to face Riske in Portoroz final

Italy’s Jasmine Paolini rallied back to defeat Yulia Putintseva to reach her first WTA final in Portoroz.

Jasmine Paolini Sep 1, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Jasmine Paolini of Italy serves against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day three of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Unseeded Jasmine Paolini is having a dream week at the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz in Slovenia. The 25-year-old world No 87 powered past second-seeded Yulia Putintseva, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach her maiden WTA final, where she awaits third-seeded American Alison Riske.

Paolini has now defeated the No 6 (Dayana Yastremska), No 4 (Sorana Cirstea) and No 2 seeds at Portoroz, the last two victories coming in three sets.

Paolini only managed seven winners in a lopsided first set but hit 25 across the second and third sets to record her sixth career top-50 win over the world No 44.

Paolini had leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the decider but Putintseva broke back to get on serve at 4-5.

But the Kazakh could only win one point in her next service game, as she hit her seventh double-fault of the match to close the contest in two hours and 14 minutes.

Riske reaches 10th WTA final

American Alison Riske took out hometown favorite Kaja Juvan, 6-0, 6-4, to claim Saturday’s second semifinal. Juvan was only able to win 10 of 29 first serve points in the match and was broken six times by the world No 38.

Riske, 31, will bid for her third WTA title on Sunday.

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