The possibility of an all-American final was in play on Friday, as two Americans were in action in the Internationaux de Strasbourg semifinals in Strasbourg France. Christina McHale and Madison Keys were both eyeing a spot in the tournament’s title match, but had to take care of their respective semifinal opponent first.
In the first match, McHale took on Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa in a long and hard-fought match. The American took the first set 7-5 as each player exchanged points on the other’s serve. Neither player was able to get any break points and forced the set into a tiebreak, where McHale prevailed to lead the match.
Soler-Espinosa bounced back nicely in the second. She completely dominated with her serve and was able to convert 21 of 35 serves into points for herself. She also smashed four aces and made the most of her opportunities as the second set would require a long tiebreak as well. The Spaniard eventually outlasted McHale and took the second set 7-6(6).
In the third, things began to unravel for McHale. Silver-Espinosa broke her serve early in the third to take control, and won 13 of 17 service points to run away from the American. Her final ace wrapped up the match and sent Silver-Espinosa into the finals.
In the other semifinal, American Madison Keys took on Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig. In a match that was much closer than the final score would indicate, Puig defeated Keys 7-5, 6-3 to move on into the finals.
It was the second time the two had met, with the first coming in last year’s French Open. Puig was able to use her serve more effectively, converting a higher percentage of both first and second service points to dictate tempo in the match. She saved a higher percentage of her break point opportunities and was able to pull away in the second set.
Puig will now face Soler-Espinosa in the title match on Saturday. The Puerto Rican won the only previous meeting between the two players, notching a three-set victory in last year’s Wimbledon.