Szavay, Zahlavova Strycova Into Final
Published July 17, 2010 12:00
PRAGUE, Czech Republic - The final of the last ECM Prague Open by Glanzis will be contested by the $220,000 tournament's No.7 and No.8 seeds, after Agnes Szavay and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova scored straight-set semifinal wins on Saturday.
The title match marks a first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour final for Zahlavova Strycova, who is 24. Hungary's Szavay, who is now on a nine-match streak having won her home title et Budapest on Sunday, scuppered an all-Czech final when she beat Lucie Hradecka, 62 64 in 80 minutes.
Lefthander Hradecka managed an impressive 92 percent first service percentage across their semifinal, but it counted for little against the Szavay return in an encounter that featured no fewer than 13 breaks of serve.
Although Zahlavova Strycova was the on-paper favorite over Patty Schnyder, the 62 60 scoreline of her defeat over the former top tenner was far from expected, not least because Schnyder had been Szavay's finals opponent at Budapest and has been displaying vintage form on the red clay.
But as Zahlavova Strycova - who fended off both break points faced while snapping the Swiss veteran's serve on five of eight chances - herself noted, she "played almost without errors.'' The world No.52 added: "Patty plays a bit slow but clever tennis, so I had to be patient and it paid off."
Sunday's final will represent the first Tour meeting between Szavay, who boasts a 4-2 record in Tour singles finals, and Zahlavova Strycova. Szavay is also through the doubles final, with Monica Niculescu of Romania. In Saturday's semis the No.3 seeds dispatched Belarusian duo Ekaterina Dzehalevich and Tatiana Poutchek, and will now face Budapest champions Timea Bacsinszky and Tathiana Garbin.
The last Czech to win a Tour singles title was Zahlavova's frequent doubles partner, Iveta Benesova, who triumphed at Fès in the spring. Despite the country's depth in tennis, no Czech has ever been victorious at Prague.