Playing in her seventh career WTA semifinal match, Stephens needed just 29 minutes to win the second set. She got the first set to a tiebreak by rallying from a 3-1 games deficit and in the tiebreak won five straight points after trailing 4-2.
“I’m excited. I’m really happy,” Stephens said. “I’m happy to do it here. This is one of my favorite tournaments.”
She entered Saturday 0-2 lifetime against Stosur but only made 16 unforced errors to Stosur’s 36 en route to her first victory over the Australian. She also took advantage of Stosur’s second serve, winning 58 percent of those points overall and 70 percent of them in the second set. Stephens has not lost a set this week.
“It feels really good, obviously, of course, and beating a player that I’ve never beaten before, it’s a step in the right direction,” Stephens said.
In Sunday’s final, she will face Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the first time. Pavlyuchenkova advanced after fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova, the top seed, retired with a right leg injury during their semifinal match. Pavlyuchenkova reached the Citi Open final in 2012 but will be playing in her first singles final of 2015 on Sunday.
Stephens and Pavlyuchenkova are currently ranked 36th and 40th, respectively.
Playing in their first tournament together, Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic did not lose a set en route to the WTA Citi Open doubles title. They locked up the championship Saturday with a 7-5, 7-6 (9-7) win over Lara Arruabarrena and Andreja Klepac .
Bencic said she was glad she reached out to Mladenovic, who had 11 doubles titles already, and asked to play with her in Washington, with their normal partners not participating.
“I didn’t know her so well before, but I’m very happy we played together and we got to know each other, and we are really good friends now,” Bencic said.
That chemistry helped them on the court, according to Mladenovic. In the set tiebreaker, they saved a set point, and each used strong serves to earn the victory .
“[When] one has bad momentum, the other one supports pretty well, so I think that made us strong today,” Mladenovic said.
The two did not have long to celebrate. They both had flights to catch before playing singles in the Rogers Cup in Toronto starting Monday. They said they will rejoin their normal doubles partners in upcoming tournaments but would like to reconnect on the court sometime soon.
Bob and Mike Bryan were broken by Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea in the first game of their men’s doubles semifinal, but the Bryan brothers broke back three times in that first set and went on to win the match, 6-3, 6-4.
“They had the momentum. They beat us at Wimbledon, so they had us by the throat a little bit,” Bob Bryan said. “I think their struggles on serve kept them a little frustrated, and as they struggled more, we gained confidence and actually started serving great.”
The Bryans will be looking for their fifth tournament win of the year after winning 10 and 11 the last two seasons.
“It’s not the year that we were looking for so far, but it has a lot of similarities to last year,” Bob Bryan said. “We were very frustrated coming into the summer, and we were able to win some of these tough matches and catch fire.”
They won the U.S. Open last year and will need to do that again to extend their streak of winning at least one Grand Slam every year since 2005.
“We are hoping that history repeats itself,” Bob Bryan said.
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