The women’s semifinals are set; as Lauren Davis, Anna Blinkova, Heather Watson and Usue Maitane Arconada all advanced on a chilly Friday of play in New Haven.
First up on Court 1, American Lauren Davis took on Pauline Parmentier in a highly touted quarterfinal matchup. Both seeded players were perennial favorites throughout the week, as each started with an opening round bye before downing a duo of worthy opponents. Their contest did not disappoint, as Davis and Parmentier battled back-and-forth firing off aces, exceptionally long rallies, saved break points and more to awe the local crowd. While the final score line of 6-3, 6-4 in Davis’ favor may not look it, the French Parmentier had plenty of opportunities to force a third and deciding set. In the end Davis’ exceptional form was simply too much, as she booked a spot in the semifinals against Anna Blinkova.
In Blinkova’s quarterfinal matchup, she breezed past American Jennifer Brady with a 6-2, 6-1 victory that took barely over an hour to complete. It was an exquisite performance from the Russian, who had an answer for everything that Brady threw at her. She saved an astounding 83% (5/6) of Brady’s break point opportunities and punched her ticket into the New Haven semifinals.
World No. 73 Davis vs. World No. 84 Blinkova is an intriguing matchup, and one that’s never before taken place on tour. Davis is an Oracle Challenger Series stalwart, having notched impressive performances including making the Houston finals and Newport Beach quarterfinals on her way to earning a wild card into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. The semifinals berth is the farthest of Blinkova’s Oracle Challenger Series career, and she will look to make a statement with a win on Saturday.
On the other side of the women’s draw, Britain’s Heather Watson eliminated American upstart Danielle Lao in a tightly-contested, albeit straight set victory on Court 3. It was a long match that took nearly two and a half hours to complete, as Lao did everything she could to prevent Watson to advancing to the New Haven semis. It wasn’t enough, as the British World No. 101 served up four aces along with saving 75% (9/12) of her opponent’s break point chances.
Later in the day on Court 3, Usue Maitane Arconada made sure that there would be two American vs. International women’s semifinals. She upset Australia’s Astra Sharma, overpowering the No. 9 seed in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. Sharma had no response for the American’s incredible service play, and Arconada continued a surprising run to the New Haven semis that few could have seen coming.
Watson vs. Arconada is a dichotomous matchup of Oracle Challenger Series veteran vs. relative newcomer that will surely test the mettle of both players. The Brit is well acquainted with the Series, having competed in prior events in Chicago, Houston and Indian Wells. It’s a very different path for Arconada, who’s taking full advantage of her second appearance by upsetting a host of opposition all the way to the semifinals. What a journey it would be for the American, if she was able to notch another victory under her belt and make the finals in New Haven.