Coco Gauff battled through to the second WTA final of her burgeoning career as the 17-year-old American sank the title hopes of Katerina Siniakova in Parma.
At the Emilia-Romagna Open, Gauff scored a 7-5 1-6 6-2 victory over the player who shocked top seed Serena Williams in round two of the clay-court tournament.
It means Gauff faces a first final appearance since landing the Linz Open title as a 15-year-old in October 2019, with Wang Qiang awaiting her in the title match after a dramatic win over former US Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Gauff served eight double faults against Siniakova, a familiar weakness in her game, but her opponent was similarly afflicted and coughed up 10 doubles across the two hours and eight minutes of their contest.
Having reached the semi-finals of the WTA 1000 event in Rome last week, Gauff is enjoying her stay in Italy ahead of competing at the French Open.
"I need to play more aggressive. I learned to trust my shots and they ended up working out," she said on Amazon Prime. "The Italians, they cheer me on and bring me good luck, and hopefully I can keep this going tomorrow."
Coco Gauff into her 2nd WTA final and 1st on clay in Parma.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) May 21, 2021
Gauff’s top results in 2021:
Adelaide 500: SF
Dubai 1000: QF
Charleston 500: QF
Parma: F (+?)
20-9 on the season.
11-3 on clay
11-4 in 3 set matches#EmiliaRomagnaOpen https://t.co/msuUxY6cxH
Wang beat Stephens 6-2 7-6 (7-3), but the scoreline barely told the story of the second semi-final. It seemed sure to go to a third set as Stephens raced to a 5-1 lead in the second, but Wang reeled her in before easing through the tie-break.
Chinese star Wang, coached by former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, said: "I just tried to hang in there and focus on the court, try to hit every ball back. It will be my first time to play [Gauff] and I will make a plan tonight."
At the Serbia Open, promising Colombian teenager Maria Camila Osorio Serrano set up a semi-final against Croatian Ana Konjuh by beating world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Osorio Serrano secured a 6-4 6-2 success, while Konjuh saw off Argentinian Nadia Podoroska 6-4 6-3. In the top half of the quarter-final draw, Spain's Paula Badosa was a 6-2 6-4 victor over Swedish player Rebecca Peterson, and Bulgarian Viktoriya Tomova edged out Hungarian Reka-Luca Jani 6-1 2-6 7-5.