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Vinci Rallies Past Schiavone in Barcelona Semis

Unseeded Roberta Vinci and No.6 seed Maria Kirilenko will meet on Saturday for the Barcelona Ladies Open title.

Published April 18, 2009 12:00

Vinci Rallies Past Schiavone in Barcelona Semis
Roberta Vinci

BARCELONA, Spain - Some of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour stars playing in the Barcelona Ladies Open had to do double duty on Saturday, as the quarterfinals and semifinals wrapped up at the red clay court event, an International-level stop.

Two quarterfinals from Friday's schedule were pushed to Saturday on account of rain. Those two matches were first up Saturday, starting with No.6 seed and defending champion Maria Kirilenko completing a 61 36 60 defeat of María José Martínez Sánchez (they were stopped on Friday with Kirilenko up, 61 12). No.5 seed Carla Suárez Navarro followed with a 64 60 rout of qualifier Tatjana Malek (the two never even took the court on Friday as they were the last match on).

Semifinal Saturday kicked off with a nail-biter between two players who won their quarterfinal matches before the rains fell the day before, with Italy's Roberta Vinci rallying back to defeat countrywoman Francesca Schiavone, 06 76(2) 64. Schiavone won nine of the first 10 games to lead 60 31 and would even serve for the match leading 60 54, but Vinci bounced back and from the tie-break wouldn't fall behind again, beating Schiavone for the first time in four tries.

Vinci reached her second career singles final on the Tour, having won another clay court title in Bogotá two years ago (winning when another Italian, Tathiana Garbin, retired during the third set due to a stomach illness).

The quarterfinal winners from earlier on in the day squared off in the second semifinal later on, with Kirilenko recovering after losing the first set to cruise past Suárez Navarro comfortably, 46 61 62. Kirilenko will be playing in her eighth career singles final on the Tour, going 5-2 in her first seven - among her titles is the one right here a year ago, when she beat Martínez Sánchez in the final.

"I'm feeling great! I'm happy to be in the final here again," Kirilenko said. "It was difficult to get into the final because I had to play two matches in one day, but I'm very pleased to have made it."

The doubles semifinals also took the court, with top seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and Martínez Sánchez setting up a title clash with unseeded Romanian-Slovenian combo Sorana Cistea and Andreja Klepac. Both won in straight sets.

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