STANFORD (CBS / AP) — Lucky loser Coco Vandeweghe reached her first WTA Tour final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory against Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer on Saturday at the Bank of the West Classic.
Wickmayer double-faulted to hand Vandeweghe a service break to go ahead 3-1 in the final set. Vandeweghe saved four break points in the next game and watched Wickmayer double fault again on match point.
Vandeweghe dropped her racket in disbelief, ran to the sideline and jumped into the arms of her mother, Tauna. The 20-year-old from Southern California had never even made a WTA semifinal until she knocked off Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-4 a day earlier.
“It’s a dream come true for me being in the finals of a WTA event,” Vandeweghe said. “Hopefully this is a good omen for the rest of the summer for me.”
She will play the winner of the Saturday night match between 14-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and Romania’s Sorana Cirstea. Fourth-ranked and top-seeded Williams reached the semifinals beating No. 6 seed Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-4, 6-0 Friday. Williams beat Vandeweghe in a World TeamTennis match that ended in a nine-point tiebreaker at 5-all last summer in their only professional meeting.
Vandeweghe wasn’t even supposed to be around at Stanford this week.
She failed to make it out of qualifying and only got into the main draw when Bojana Jovanovski withdrew with an injury. The last lucky loser to advance to a WTA final was eventual runner-up Melinda Czink in 2005 at Canberra, Australia.
A potential All-American final on the hard court took shape from the start.
Vandeweghe broke Wickmayer in the opening game and pounded 12 total aces with a serve that topped 121 mph. She also won 31 of 36 points on her first serve.
With a series of shouts and screams following every winner, Wickmayer tried to motivate herself back into the match. She smacked a running forward passing shot down the line on set point in the second, pumped her fist and screamed “Come on!”
The Belgian missed a forward long to give Vandeweghe a break point at 2-1. Then she double faulted while serving into the sun, giving the young American the break.
Vandeweghe went down 15-40 in the next game before flicking a forehand to the base line to force Wickmayer into an error and followed with another ace. She held off two more break points — the last coming on an ace — and stayed steady until Wickmayer served into the net on match point.
“She served very well. I knew if I lost my serve, it was tough for me to get it back,” Wickmayer said. “She just aced it away. Nothing really I could do.”
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)