Title Bout For Bethanie
Published January 14, 2011 12:00
HOBART, Australia - Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a two-time singles runner-up, is one win away from her maiden WTA title after beating Peng Shuai in the semis of the Moorilla Hobart International on Friday. The American's opponent in the championship match will be Australia's Jarmila Groth, who won her first title at Guangzhou last year, and had an easier time dispatching doubles partner Klara Zakopalova in the other semi.
Despite dropping her first set of the tournament, and making just 57 percent of first serves, the charismatic Mattek-Sands clawed her way back to register a 46 61 61 victory over the Chinese No.3. Later, No.6 seed Groth beat her fifth-seeded friend and doubles partner Zakopalova in just over an hour, 63 62.
"I'm really happy with my performance, the serve is still a trouble but...I'm having fun so it's good," said 23-year-old Groth, who has come through the disruptions of the week without dropping a set. "I felt this year I had good preparation and was coming in confident with my game."
Looking ahead to the final, the Slovak-born Aussie added: "It's going to be definitely a very tough night but I will try to play my game, concentrate on what I'm doing right now and hopefully it's going to be enough."
Groth started this week on a career-high ranking of No.40 and could crack the Top 35 if she wins the title. Mattek-Sands is projected to crack the Top 50 in next week's rankings, regardless of the outcome on Saturday's final. Mattek-Sands leads the finalists' head -to-head, having scored a victory on grass at Birmingham in 2008.
Twenty-five-year-old Mattek-Sands' two previous finals have been indoors at Québec City, in 2008 and last year.