Jil Teichmann of Switzerland booked a spot in the biggest WTA singles final of her career by dispatching No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, and setting up a title clash with world No.1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia at the Western & Southern Open.
A wildcard into the event ranked, world No.76, 24-year-old Teichmann took just an hour and 22 minutes to upset world No.4 Pliskova in hot and humid conditions on Saturday evening in Ohio.
Teichmann is now 4-0 against top-10 players this season. The victory over 2016 Cincinnati champion Pliskova was Teichmann's second top-5 win of the week, and her third win in a row over a Top 20 player.
World No.1 and reigning Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty defeated Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 14 minutes to book her place in the final.
Teichmann had stunned world No.2 Naomi Osaka in the round of 16 for her biggest career win by ranking. She then notched a quarterfinal victory over 12th-ranked Belinda Bencic, her countrywoman and the reigning Olympic champion.
"I think I served really good, as did she (Pliskova)," Teichmann told wtatennis.com, after her win. "Especially in the beginning, I was trying to return, somehow get into the rally. I felt as well very good in the rally, and I think that's where I made the difference."
"I have been working a lot on many different aspects," Teichmann added. "Mentally I have been working [on] my strokes. I have been working physically, as I mentioned already the past few days. I have had injuries, so I had to work a lot physically, as well. Long weeks, long hours. I guess just the positives getting together right now this week."
Teichmann is now into her fourth WTA singles final, but her first above WTA 250-level. In 2019, Teichmann claimed clay-court titles in Prague and Palermo, and last year she reached her first hardcourt final in Lexington.
"To me, it's (final vs Barty) perfect," Teichmann said. "Playing Centre Court against World No.1 in a final, it's perfect. It's a really nice challenge, and I'll go for it."
Barty continued her imperious form, defeating Kerber 6-2, 7-5. One month ago, Barty had defeated Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the fourth round of Wimbledon and Kerber in the semifinals en route to lifting her second major trophy. This week, the Australian has repeated both of those results in Cincinnati to extend her 2021 record to 39-7 -- a Tour-leading number of match wins. Against Kerber, she found 29 winners to the German's 16, and kept her error tally to 18 compared to her opponent's 21.
The victory moves Barty into her 19th career final, ninth at WTA 1000 level or higher, and a Tour-leading sixth of 2021.