LINZ, Austria - Victoria Azarenka and Julia Goerges powered into the final of the International-level Generali Ladies Linz on Saturday, putting a stop to some surprise semifinal runs - although one had it far easier than the other.
The No.1-seeded Azarenka was the first to move through, dropping serve once but breaking back six times to end the run of Irina-Camelia Begu - who was a lucky loser into the draw - in straight sets in just over an hour, 62 61.
"In some games I felt like I was in trouble because I wasn't being as aggressive as I should have been, but I have to give her credit, she was stepping up and going for her shots," Azarenka said. "I could have been more precise today.
"When you enter a tournament you always want to reach the final, just to know you're playing well enough to reach the last steps. Now just one more to go."
Azarenka was asked in her press conference about her habit of listening to music as she walks onto the court, and why she enjoys music so much.
"I feel like you always relate music to your memories, and sometimes you want to remember something or have a feeling you felt before," she said. "So I listen to music a lot - that's how I remind myself of good times and experiences."
Azarenka now has a WTA-leading 66 match wins on the season and is a perfect 12-0 since the US Open (and not only has she not dropped a set this fall, she hasn't even been pushed beyond 6-4 in any of those 24 sets she has won).
The No.5-seeded Goerges had a much tougher day at the office, dropping the first set to Kirsten Flipkens in 28 minutes, but she adjusted her game and eventually battled past the Belgian qualifier in three sets, 16 62 63.
"I can only be proud of my performance today," Goerges said. "Not the first set - she wasn't making any mistakes and I was rushing too much - but in the second set I got back into the match and wasn't giving her any free points.
"I made it tough for her and it finally worked out."
Azarenka leads Goerges in their head-to-head, 3-1, and in the only loss, she had to retire from the match due to injury after winning the first set.
"Julia is a very unpredictable player," Azarenka said. "She goes for her shots a lot and sometimes what she does doesn't depend on you at all. I've played her a few times and it's never easy. It's definitely going to be a tough battle.
"Also, I really like Julia as a person. She's really fun and always very nice. We always talk when we're at tournaments and have a really good relationship. And she always says nice things to me and congratulates me on Twitter."
"First of all, I want to enjoy the final - it has been a long season and it's nice to see my game is still there and improving," Goerges said. "Also it's nice to be in another final here - I won my first WTA title in Austria - so hopefully I do well.
"You always want to play against the best players in the world so you can see what level you're at. I will try my best tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
Goerges has two career wins over a World No.1, beating Caroline Wozniacki twice during the clay court season in 2011, at Stuttgart and Madrid.