Alexandra Spoils All-Chinese Final
Published May 21, 2010 12:00
WARSAW, Poland - Alexandra Dulgheru dashed the hopes of an all-Chinese final at her favorite tournament on Friday, beating Li Na in three sets in the semifinals of the Polsat Warsaw Open. Zheng Jie could still bring the title back to China however, as she awaits Dulgheru in Saturday's final.
In a first-time meeting, Li - at No.3 the highest seed remaining in the draw, after early departures of Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva - took it to Dulgheru, taking control with her big ground game. But the tenacious Dulgheru held her off, losing the second set after holding a 64 20 lead but regrouping to prevail in three sets, 64 36 64. Highlights: Dulgheru vs. Li
"I was trying to change her rhythm a bit and play different shots," Dulgheru said. "I got a little bit tired at the end of the second set but I just tried to hang in there in the third. I really didn't think I'd win until the last point of the match."
Dulgheru is now 12-0 at this tournament, winning eight matches at last year's event (three qualifying, five main draw) and four this year: "It's a special feeling playing in Warsaw. Maybe it's because of the atmosphere here. I feel great."
Zheng, the No.5 seed, put an end to Greta Arn's breakthrough week in the second semifinal with a 64 75 win. Things looked headed for a third set as Arn served for the second set at 5-4, but Zheng regrouped and now has the chance to become the first Chinese player to win a Premier-level tournament.
"I'm happy about my performance here this week," Zheng said. "On clay, every point takes longer than other surfaces. It's more demanding to concentrate mentally and it's harder physically too. My results this week are good for building up to my French Open." Highlights: Zheng vs. Arn
Dulgheru won her lone career title right here last year; Zheng has three titles to her name, at Hobart in 2005 and Stockholm and Estoril in 2006.