Monica Puig eased into the semifinals of the AEGON Open in Nottingham with a comprehensive win over lucky loser Tamira Paszek.
Puig jumps on Paszek early, loses lead, recovers late to win first set
Paszek is a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, so her grass credentials are impressive, but Puig was quick to strike as she saved three break points on her serve to open the match. She used that momentum to win 13 of the next 16 points and build a 3-0 lead. Paszek settled down and held her next two service games with the loss of just two points combined.
At 4-2, the Austrian made her move, grinding out a break on Puig's serve to steal the break back. It all looked to be going her way as she held for 4-all, but Puig is feisty and she closed out the set in style with a relatively easy hold and a break to love, a disappointing end to the set for Paszek after her fightback. Puig won 8 of the last 10 points to wrap up the first set 6-4 in 39 minutes.
Puig again races out to early advantage, holds on this time to win second set, advance to semifinals
As in the first set, Puig made a fast start, winning 12 of the first 17 points to speed out to a 3-0 lead. In a carbon copy of the first set, Paszek held for 3-1 and then engineered a break, winning an elongated nine-point game followed by another hold to level the set at 3-all. In eerily similar circumstances to the first set, the momentum didn't last and Puig was soon on the front foot again, winning 12 of the final 16 points to close the set and match out in commanding fashion 6-3. In another ironic twist, the second set lasted 39 minutes, the exact time of the first set.
Pliskova semifinal opponent
Due to the rain in Nottingham, the quarterfinals and semifinals were forced to be played on this Saturday as was the case last year. Because of that, Puig will play her semifinal match in a short amount of time, where she will face top seed Karolina Pliskova. Pliskova won a tough two-setter against comebacking Australian Ashleigh Barty. The Puerto Rican has dropped just 13 games en route to the last four, but she has never beaten the Czech in two career tries, both on hard courts.
Paszek has a good serve on grass, but Puig was able to captialize on her chances, taking five of seven break point opportunities.