Olga, Caroline To Meet In Final
Published April 10, 2010 12:00
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL, USA - Having dispatched No.2 seed Alona Bondarenko at the start of the week, Olga Govortsova will gun for her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title at the MPS Group Championships on Sunday, thanks to a topsy-turvy semifinal win over No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova. The Belarusian's opponent will be defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who had her own problems before quashing the challenge of fourth seed Elena Vesnina.
Indeed, Vesnina - who held four match points against Wozniacki in the semis here last year - got off to a blistering start, breaking serve in the first game and then twice more to take the first set in 30 minutes.
In the second set, games went on serve until Vesnina broke for 5-4. But the Russian faltered when serving for the match, allowing the Dane to level and force a tie-break two games later.
Upon sending the match to the decider Wozniacki was first to draw blood for 2-0, however Vesnina drew level. Wozniacki broke again for 5-3 and although the 19-year-old relinquished the advantage when serving for the match, at the next opportunity she broke the Russian to 15 to seal the win.
"I didn't play my best tennis and for a while I thought I was heading for Charleston," Wozniacki said. "She was playing well and dictating so I couldn't do what I wanted to do. But I kept my legs moving and pulled it through…I'm so pleased to be in the final."
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Like Vesnina, Cibulkova was left to rue lost chances, having stumbled to defeat after holding leads in both sets of her match against world No.52 Govortsova.
The 20-year-old Slovak, who will remain the highest-ranked player with a Tour singles title for at least another week, led 4-2 in the first set, only to see Govortsova hit three winners straight and go on to pocket games in a row. Having clawed back a 4-1 deficit in the second to lead 5-4, the No.3 seed lost three games on the trot as Govortsova advanced, 64 75.
"I've never played Caroline on the Tour, but I played her in the juniors from 14 or 15," said 21-year-old Govortsova, who has never before come up against a player ranked as high as No.2. "It will be tough but I've been playing well recently - we'll see."
Govortsova's last appearance in a final was at the Kremlin Cup in 2009, where her run was ended by Francesca Schiavone. She was also runner-up to Lindsay Davenport at Memphis in 2008. For her part, Wozniacki is seeking a seventh Tour singles title from her 14th final.
The seedings held true in the doubles, with the No.1 and No.2 pairings set to meet in the final after edging unseeded duos in match tie-breaks. In Saturday's semis, top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Yan Zi beat Andrea Hlavackova and Olga Savchuk, while second seeds Chuang Chia-Jung and Peng Shuai defeated Sarah Borwell and Raquel Kops-Jones.