Samantha Stosur has made her second semi-final of the year, overcoming a determined fightback by Japan’s Misaki Doi for a 6-1 3-6 6-3 win at the Japan Open on Friday.
The third-seeded Stosur, aiming for her fifth career WTA title, will face highly touted American teenager Madison Keys, who advanced to her first WTA semi-final with a 6-3 6-1 win over China’s Zheng Jie.
The other semi-final on Saturday at the Utsubo Tennis Center will see Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, the No.5 seed, take on unseeded Kurumi Nara of Japan after both women won in three sets.
Bouchard got off to a slow start before posting a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victory over Czech qualifier Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, while Nara assured the host nation a presence in the last four by scraping out a 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-1 win over Slovenia’s Polona Hercog.
The 29-year-old Stosur, who had beaten Doi in Osaka in 2011 in their only previous meeting, looked like she would run away with the rematch when she zipped to a 5-0 lead before taking the first set.
But the unseeded Doi stiffened her resistance, earning a service break in the eighth game of the second set before levelling the match.
In the third set, Stosur took a 4-2 lead with a service break, only to see Doi break back. In the next game, a double fault by Doi set up a break point which Stosur converted, before holding serve to win in 1 hour, 38 minutes.
Stosur, who has had muted success since winning the 2011 US Open, had been 0-4 in quarterfinals this year until she broke through in Carlsbad in July, where she went on to win a fourth career title.
Bouchard, currently ranked 35th after starting the year at No.145, will be looking for her first win in three semifinal appearances this year.