Petkovic, Olaru Into Final
Published July 25, 2009 06:53
BAD GASTEIN, Austria - The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will welcome a first-time titlist on Sunday, as Romania's Ioana Raluca Olaru and Germany's Andrea Petkovic, both unseeded, do battle for the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies crown.
Before this week she had won just three main draw matches at Tour level but Bosnian-born Petkovic, 21, was first to advance to the final by way of a bruising 62 61 defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova. The winner of eight singles titles on the ITF Circuit, the world No.98's list of victims this week has included No.4 seed Iveta Benesova and No.7 Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
"I know I am good enough to beat most players on this level," said Petkovic, who split the first four games with her Kazakh opponent before reeling off a nine-game streak. "I'm very happy because I've now proved I can hold the level of my game for a whole week.
"I lost to Olaru last time," she added, "so hopefully I can take some revenge tomorrow."
Twenty-year-old Olaru's form has been equally impressive: the best week of her career has included wins over No.2 seed Sybille Bammer, No.6 seed Magdalena Rybarikova and, in Saturday's semis, top seed Alizé Cornet.
While the damp, heavy conditions suited the French 19-year-old in the first set, it was 66th-ranked Olaru, owner of nine ITF trophies, who capitalized on a rain delay at the start of the second.
"After we came back from the break I felt much more confident and played better and better," she said. Even so, Cornet served for the match at 5-4, only to be broken, as she was again early in the second game of the decider. She was unable to recover the deficit and Olaru advanced, 36 75 63.
Olaru leads the finalists' head-to-head series, 2-1. Two of their three meetings have been at ITF Circuit events - both times Olaru went on to win the title, including at Marseilles earlier this year - while Petkovic beat the Romanian in qualifying at Indian Wells in March.
"I think tomorrow the mental will be the most important thing, because she has a great game," said Olaru of Petkovic.
Petkovic is also through to the doubles final, partnering compatriot Tatjana Malek. They take on Czech defending champions Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, the No.3 seeds, who will be playing their first final of the season after three semifinal runs.