It took her a while, but fourth-seeded Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra found her groove against Martina Okalova in the quarterfinals of the H-E-B Women’s Pro Open on Thursday and came away with 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-0 victory on Friday at the Texas Tennis Center. She will face Chloe Beck, pictured above, who escaped against Ashley Lahey, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, in the day’s tightest quarterfinal.
In spite of being in control early in the match, Jimenez Kasintseva trailed after Okalova had taken a medical timeout for an injured leg.
“I started a little bit nervous,” said Jimenez Kasintseva, 18. “I wasn’t really feeling my game, and she was very consistent. I mean, she played very well. And, I was leading in the first set and I had a few opportunities.
“In the second set, it was tough in the beginning, but I just tried to be consistent,” she continued. “I tried to keep on fighting and I was trying to convince myself that if I just held on, that I would have an opportunity. And in fact, I did have the opportunity.”
The Beck-Lahey match was a roller-coaster for both players. In the third set, Lahey served for the match at 5-4 and also had break points to take the final set to a tiebreaker, but Beck held her off to reach her third semifinal of the year. Beck, who has a career high WTA ranking of No. 412, reached the final of a W25 in South Carolina in October and the semifinals of a W40 in Peru in August.
Beck had lost to Lahey, 6-3, 6-1, in October in a hardcourt in Georgia.
“I actually played her a few weeks ago and lost to her pretty badly,” Beck said. “She’s really tough player, hits the ball really, really hard so definitely gives me some trouble. But when it looked like I could pull it out in the third, it was definitely like, I had some nerves there.”
Beck, who had used defense to stay in the match, got aggressive at the end of the final game of the match, going to the net to take control and get the victory.
“I think I still used my defense a lot because I kind of have to against that type of player,” Beck said. “But I think I definitely like use more offense as well, with like serving a ball and trying to get to the net when I could.”
Jimenez Kasintseva faces Beck at 11 a.m. on Court 1.
In the bottom half of the draw, sixth-seeded Hanna Chang was too steady for Ellie Douglas, coming away with a decisive 6-4, 6-0 victory that took 1 hour 42 minutes because of a drawn-out opening set.
The 25-year-old Chang will face Madison Sieg, whose power game eventually overcame the slices and unorthodox play of Catherine Harris, 7-5. 6-3. Sieg rallied to defeat Harrison in a third-set tiebreak in the first round of last year’s H-E-B Women’s Pro Open.
“it was a little bit different today,” said Sieg, who at 20 is 9 years younger than her opponent on Friday. “I was able to get a good start unlike last time. So yeah, I just know her well.”
Saturday’s semifinal marks the fifth time Chang and Sieg will face each other in ITF matches, with Chang holding a 3-1 lead. In their last match, Chang, from Fontana California, won 6-3, 6-2 in January on a hardcourt in Malibu. Their semifinal is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on Court 5.
In the doubles semifinals, Lahey and Maria Kozyreva, the top-seeded team, scored a 6-3, 7-5 victory over the third-seeded team of Beck and Harrison. In the championship match, Lahey and Kozyreva will face Jiangxue Han and Yujia Huang, who were 6-3, 6-4 winners over Taisiya Pachkaleva and Nicole Rivkin. The doubles championship will be contested after the singles’ semifinals.
Article and image by Bevo Video Productions, a division of Texas Student Media at UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication.
Check out the bios of the H-E-B Women’s Pro Open players.