Francesca Through to Title Bout
Published July 19, 2009 11:27
PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The top two seeds will battle it out for the ECM Prague Open singles title on Sunday afternoon, after Francesca Schiavone and Sybille Bammer won their respective postponed semifinals in the morning.
When play was abandoned due to rainy weather on Saturday, second-seeded Bammer had stolen an early 3-0 lead in her match against No.3 seed Iveta Benesova. And when the players returned to court today, the 29-year-old Austrian picked up right where she left off, winning six games in a row to move to 3-0 in the second set.
But finally Czech No.1 Benesova seemed to find some rhythm, breaking Bammer to create an opportunity to level at 3-3. However the Austrian broke again, and despite failing to convert three match points on serve at 5-3 - which led to Benesova leveling at 5-5 - registered another break for 6-5 and this time served it out, 60 75.
Likewise, top seed Schiavone had to work a bit harder than at first seemed likely after racing through the first set against Swiss qualifier Timea Bacsinszky. Although Bacsinszky relinquished an early break in the second set she made another breakthrough for 5-4, holding serve to take the constest to the decider. Ultimately it was 29-year-old Schiavone's greater experience that made the difference as she scored the decisive break and advanced on her second match point, 62 46 75.
Having fallen in the semis at Tour events five times Bammer, 29, will be playing just the second Tour final of her career, and gunning for a second trophy after Pattaya City in 2007. Schiavone also owns one singles title, earned at Bad Gastein exactly two years ago, in what was her ninth final. The pair's head-to-head series is currently tied at 1-1, although they have never met on clay before now.