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Ana & Alisa Into Final

On her 23rd birthday, Ana Ivanovic beat Kimiko Date Krumm. Alisa Kleybanova awaits.

Published November 06, 2010 12:00

Ana & Alisa Into Final
Ana Ivanovic

BALI, Indonesia - Ana Ivanovic celebrated her 23rd birthday with an intense semifinal victory at the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions Saturday, beating 40-year-old veteran Kimiko Date Krumm to make the final.

Using her unique mix of pinpoint groundstrokes, consistency and rock solid tenacity on the big points, Date Krumm made a quick start, winning the first three games of the match and eventually holding double set point leading 5-3; Ivanovic caught fire though, going on a six game streak to take the first set, 7-5, and going up 2-0 in the second set, eventually serving for the match at 75 53.

Date Krumm clawed back, saving match point down 75 65 and rallying from 4-2 down in the tie-break to push it to a third set, but Ivanovic was too strong in the decider, breaking in the first and seventh games and prevailing, 75 67(5) 62.

Ivanovic and Date Krumm had taken out seeded players in the quarters, Ivanovic ousting No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Date Krumm stunning No.1 seed Li Na. Now, Ivanovic is one win away from her second title of the year, having won Linz; she would also return to the Top 20 by winning this title.

"It was a tough match, physically and mentally," Ivanovic said. "The rhythm on my serve wasn't there in the beginning, but I managed to stay calm and win that first set. I had match point in the second set but she played really well in that game, and I'm just happy to win in the end. She hits the ball hard and low, so you really have to bend and use your legs, which is hard at my height.

"It doesn't matter who I play in the final. I know that whoever it is, it will be a tough match. For the moment it's important for me to recover for tomorrow."

Check out off-court pics of Ana & Kimiko in the Pre-Bali Gallery!

The second semifinal of the day also featured two unseeded players, but the decision was much quicker, as Alisa Kleybanova recovered from a 1-3 start by winning 11 of the next 12 games and beating Daniela Hantuchova, 63 61.

"This were going fine and then she started going for it more," Hantuchova said. "From there she was always in control of the points from the first shot."

In the quarterfinals, Kleybanova ousted No.2 seed and defending champion Aravane Rezai, while Hantuchova beat No.4 seed Yanina Wickmayer.

Ivanovic and Kleybanova are tied in their head-to-head series, 3-3. Four of those meetings have come this year, with that series tied, 2-2 (Ivanovic has won their last two meetings, both on hardcourts, handily in straight sets).

"Tomorrow will be a tough match and special day for everybody," Kleybanova said. "It's my last match of the year and the last match of the WTA calendar. I'll try to enjoy it and play my best. I practiced with Ana a couple of times and she has been playing very well - we always have a big fight in our matches."

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