Van Uytvanck battles into Budapest final
Alison Van Uytvanck battled into her second successive Hungarian Ladies Open final with a dramatic three-set win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.
The number one seed and reigning champion fought back to claim a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (9-7) victory in two hours and three minutes in Budapest on Saturday, having saved five match points.
Van Uytvanck had never before faced Alexandrova, who sits 14 places below the Belgian at 64th in the rankings, but a careless first-service game allowed the Russian to move ahead.
Although rather wild on her own serve, with six aces, five double faults and 54 per cent of first serves finding their mark in the match, Alexandrova stayed ahead before breaking again in game nine to seize the advantage.
The pair exchanged breaks early in the second set before Van Uytvanck broke again at 3-3 and levelled the match with minimal fuss.
The Russian moved into a 5-2 lead in the decider only to lose the next four games, including a mammoth 10th, in which she failed to convert three match points.
Three more match points, including Van Uytvanck's first, came and went in a tense tie break. Yet Van Uytvanck emerged victorious after Alexandrova sent a forehand fractionally long.
Wow, what a match! Tomorrow final @WTABudapest. We can do this! @FlipperKF @MichielAntheunis @HUNgarianTENNIS#wtabudapest#filatennis#snauwaert#ford#abautomotivevilvoordebrussels#polarglobalpic.twitter.com/frbzScXAuF— Alison Van Uytvanck (@AlisonVanU) February 23, 2019
She will face 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova in Sunday's final after the Czech saw off fellow teenager Anastasia Potapova 6-0 6-2.
Potapova, 17, fought past Sorana Cirstea in the quarter-finals but was outclassed in the opening set by the eighth seed.
She needed a medical timeout for her right wrist after dropping serve to go 2-1 down in the second, and was ultimately unable to recover, Vondrousova sealing victory with a simple smash.