Barrois Into First Final
Published May 21, 2010 12:00
STRASBOURG, France - Maria Sharapova is one win away from her second Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the year, after pulling out a three set win over Anabel Medina Garrigues at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
Sharapova, the No.1 seed at the $220,000, International-level tournament, dropped the first set but roared back to take the match in three sets, 46 62 62.
"At 4-2 in the first set I lowered my level and she raised hers," Sharapova said after improving to 3-0 lifetime against Medina Garrigues. "Playing a Spanish player on clay was an excellent test. I still can't judge my level of game on this surface, but although there are some big events coming, I don't feel pressure."
Sharapova is playing this tournament for the first time: "What's weird is usually on the Saturday before Roland Garros I'm in Paris, but here I am in Strasbourg with a final to play at a tournament I've discovered and am really enjoying."
Medina Garrigues is a three-time champion in Strasbourg, and has now reached the semifinals or better in five of her seven career appearances at the French Open tune-up. Sharapova and Medina Garrigues had both completed rain delayed quarterfinal matches earlier in the day, so were both doing double duty.
Awaiting Sharapova in the final will be Kristina Barrois, who won a 26 62 76(6) squeaker against Vania King in the first semi of the day. She didn't save any match points to win but she did have to regroup after letting a few opportunities slip from her hands, most notably serving for the match at 6-5.
"The beginning of the match was hard and she was playing so well, serving and volleying and putting so much pressure on me," Barrois said. "I had to change something - so I changed my clothes. I came back stronger."
Before this week, Barrois' best results on the Tour were two quarterfinals - she surpassed those by reaching the semifinals and now is in her very first final.
"I'm very happy. It was my first semifinal today and my first final tomorrow - so this has been a really special tournament for me. I am just hoping for the best tomorrow! Maria will be the favorite, so I'll just do my best."