Korneeva to face Babos in Wiphold International final

tennis18 March 2023 14:12
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Alina Korneeva © Frennie Shivambu

Rising teenage star Alina Korneeva will face experienced Hungarian player Timea Babos in the singles final after they won their semifinal matches on Saturday at the WIPHOLD International, a $60 000 ITF tournament in Pretoria.

Korneeva had to work hard for her place in the trophy contest, with the 15-year-old prospect beating American opponent Emina Bektas 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the penultimate round.

Having produced a spectacular breakthrough run this week, Korneeva was trying not to get ahead of herself or shoulder too much pressure as she targeted the most prestigious senior title of her fledgling career.

"I will just try to do my best (in the final) and we'll see what happens," said Korneeva, the Australian Open junior girls champion.

"I hope everything will go well. She (Babos) is a very experienced player, but I'm younger so I think the pressure is on her and maybe that will help me."

Babos, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion, swept aside top seed Georgiana Serban of Cyprus with a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory in their semifinal.

"She (Serban) is a really good player and she was the number one seed, and I saw her results over the past few months were really good, so I knew I really had to play well," Babos said.

"I think the tactic I was using against her worked well and it gave me a lot of confidence that I served really well today, so I'm happy and a short match definitely works to my advantage (ahead of Sunday's final)."

Meanwhile, in the doubles final on Saturday, Japanese player Mai Hontama and French partner Alice Tubello secured a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and Italy's Dalila Spiteri.



[Q] Alina Korneeva (RUS) bt Emina Bektas (USA) 6-2, 2-6, 6-3
Timea Babos (HUN) bt [1] Raluca Georgiana Serban (CYP) 6-1, 6-0



Mai Hontama (JPN) and Alice Tubello (FRA) bt Sofia Costoulas (BEL) and Dalila Spiteri (ITA) 6-3, 6-3