Australia’s Astra Sharma has continued her dream run in Bogota to advance to her first ever WTA tour final. Sharma defeated the 2012 champion and runner-up for the past two years, Spain’s world no. 106 Lara Arruabarrena. The final score was 7-5, 6-1.
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Photo: Australian Astra Sharma has reached her first WTA final. (Photo by Vizzor Image/Getty Images)
Sharma came out on the court in Adidas gear after previously wearing Nike. Not sure if that is a new deal after he excellent showing in Bogota. She also was wearing a Vanderbilt tracksuit top, showing where she studied medicine and had a stellar college tennis career. After seeing her still wearing a Nike hat it appears unlikely she is sponsored. Someone should make a move to sign her up.
Going into the match you would have favoured the Spaniard as she seems to lift for her time in Bogota. She had not won a main-draw singles match since the 2018 US Open, but had reached the final in Bogota in 2017-18 and had put together a run of three matches at this tournament.
Sharma could not be easily written off. She has played at a high level. He serving has been excellent and she moves well around the clay courts and hits with power.
The Australian world no. 138 opened the serving. She lost the first point but then an out shot from Arruabarrena was followed by two Aces by Sharma. A double-fault then Sharma hit long to see the opening game at deuce.
Another big first serve helped Sharma take the next point, then Arruabarrena hit long to give Sharma the first game. Arruabarrena then held to love.
In the ninth game, Sharma was up 40-15 but then a missed drop shot followed to two over hit shots gave Arruabarrena a break point. Arruabarrena was handed the break after Sharma blasted a forehand well wide.
After looking so comfortable on serve, Sharma now found herself having to break Arruabarrena to stay in the first set. Sharma called on some words of advice from her coach for the week Louise Pleming.
Pleming suggested returning serve straight at Arruabarrena’s body, saying she is not that comfortable in that area. Pleming was also confident Sharma would break as she had gone close before. The coach also suggested some sliced serves out wide if Arruabarrena was standing deep.
Arruabarrena caught Sharma moving to the centre of the court on a second serve and served wide. Sharma missed the return. Arruabarrena then hit into the net, followed by a double fault to give Sharma a look at 15-30. Arruabarrena then hit a winner to level the scores.
Sharma just missed the sideline in the next rally to give Arruabarrena set point but her second double fault of the game saw that gone. Arruabarrena then hit wide and now Sharma held a break back point. A shot long from Sharma saw her waste that opportunity.
The Australian had a big swing at a second serve, only to see that shot sail well over the baseline. Both players were finding it hard to keep the ball in play. Sharma fired back a return that Arruabarrena could not handle, hitting into the net.
Arruabarrena was gifting Sharma points, serving her third double fault, then conceding the game with a shot over the baseline.
Some huge first serves helped Sharma take the next game to see her at 6-5. She served and volleyed the final point.
The pressure was now on Arruabarrena to stay in the set after she failed to close it out on her previous service game.
The Spaniard jumped out to 30-0 love but then hit a shot long for 30-15. Sharma returned the favour, hitting long to take Arruabarrena to one point from a tie breaker. Arruabarrena hit a shot into the net to keep Sharma in the game.
Sharma was hitting with depth and Arruabarrena made an unforced error hitting long. Another Sharma error and it was Ad, but then Arruabarrena missed long for deuce.
The Australian then got a lucky net cord that saw her have a look at a break point. The Spaniard conceded the first set with a double fault, her fourth.
In the opening game of the second set, Sharma kept the pressure on Arruabarrena with a good service hold. Arruabarrena held serve for 1-1, but then Sharma won the next five games to earn a spot in her first WTA final.
Sharma served out in style dropping just one point. She pumped her fist as she saw her winner zip past Arruabarrena.
Sharma faces USA’s Amanda Anisimova the world no. 76 who defeated world no. 165 from Brazil Beatriz Haddad Maia 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2. Her live ranking is now no. 101. A title win and she will jump to around no. 86.
After her singles match, Sharma backed up to win the doubles title with Zoe Hives, also from Australia.