Julie Coin and Sania Mirza have already made Lexington Challenger history by upholding their top seedings in reaching Sunday's finals. In Saturday's semifinals, both showed the kind of firepower and savvy that you'd expect from players safely in the top 100.
In the men's semis, fifth-seeded Harel Levy, winner of the '99 Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships, held off seventh-seeded Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 7-6 (5); and qualifier Alex Kuznetsov smoothly dispatched unseeded Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-2.
Coin wasn't fazed by the windy conditions at the Boone Tennis Center and handled Kai-Chen Chang of Taipei, with relative ease 6-2, 6-4.
Earlier in the event the Coin said, "Challengers aren't easy because girls not ranked are hungry and moving up ... and I'm the one everyone wants to beat."
Coin, the tournament's top seed, is No. 62 in the world rankings.
"My goal for the end of the year is top 50 ... and then maybe top 30," Coin said.
Coin got her wish of facing Mirza, who was No. 27 in the world two years ago.
"It's good to see how you measure up to a player like that," she said, not fooled by Mirza's current No. 85 status.
Mirza hit some untouchable forehands, crushed a few overheads and hit a swinging volley winner on match point against sixth-seeded Meng Yuan that showed the crowd what a top-30 player looks like. But the native of India was just happy to be in the finals after the 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 win .
Fifth-seeded Levy showed some of the same experience and craftiness against Matosevic on Saturday that helped the veteran to be one of the heroes when Israel upset Russia two weeks ago to reach the Davis Cup semis.
Levy will take on the the 22-year-old Kuznetsov, who had little trouble with Daniel Evans. Kuznetzov, who also beat third-seeded Kevin Anderson in the first round, has now won seven matches in eight days including his three wins to qualify for the main draw.
"Recently is the best I've played in my career," he said.