Safarova, Dokic To Meet In KL Final

Lucie Safarova and Jelena Dokic will do battle for the BMW Malaysian Open title.

Published March 05, 2011 03:49

Safarova, Dokic To Meet In KL Final
Lucie Safarova

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Lucie Safarova and Jelena Dokic will meet for the BMW Malaysian Open title after winning their respective semifinals at the $220,000 International event on Saturday. Unseeded Dokic was first to advance with a one-sided defeat of Michaella Krajicek, 62 63, before No.5 seed Safarova prevented an all-Aussie final with a 62 36 63 win over fourth seed Jarmila Groth.

"I tried to really neutralize her serve and really move her around the court and dictate, because I don't think she likes that," said world No.91 Dokic, who hit 15 winners to Krajicek's seven, and made 16 unforced errors against 27 from the Dutchwoman. "I think I did it well."

Although Dokic got a stranglehold on the match with mirror-image breaks for 2-1 in both sets, 150th-ranked Krajicek did have a chance to stem the tide midway through the second set. However, when presented with her first break point at 3-2 the 22-year-old Dutchwoman failed to control a deep second serve by Dokic, who duly held for 4-2 and didn't look back.

"It's a good feeling to be in a final again," said 27-year-old Dokic, who is through to her first final since Zürich in 2003 and on Sunday will be gunning for her first title since Birmingham in 2002. "I was nearly out of this tournament near the beginning twice and fought my way back somehow.

"No matter what happens tomorrow, I've been playing better and better," she added. "Today I was very on top of things - I'm very happy with my form. It's been a great start to the year for me."

Watch the final live from Kuala Lumpur on TennisTV!

For Safarova, things were altogether more complicated, even though the 24-year-old appeared to be cruising after a dominant first set display.

But then Groth changed gears, bustling Safarova into error for an early break in the second set, and despite failing to convert two chances for another break to take the set at 5-2, calmly leveling proceedings in her next service game.

"Jarka really upped her game in the second set - she really pushed me," Safarova agreed. "The only way for me to get out of that was to try to overpower her more, and with that came some mistakes. But then I tried again to be more patient and wait for the opportunity - and it came."

Indeed, although Groth seemed to carry the momentum into the decider, breaking Safarova on a double fault for 3-2, Safarova broke right back for 3-3 and thereafter didn't lose another game. Having fended off two break points to hold for 4-3, she broke Groth again for 5-3; the Czech lefty faced another four break points when serving for the match, but was helped over the line by her opponent's errors.

"That service game for 4-3 was the key game of the whole match, because I was down a couple of break points and I saved it," Safarova said. "I think that brought me up a little bit again, and her down maybe a bit, and that made the difference in the end."

Dokic and Safarova have met twice previously, for one win apiece. Dokic won their last encounter, just last month in the first round at Paris. "Last time I played Jelena I lost 64 in the third," said Safarova, who won her fourth and most recent WTA title at Forest Hills in 2008, and was runner-up to Elena Dementieva at the Paris indoor event 12 months ago. "It was a tough match and I'm looking forward to some revenge!"

The doubles final line-up was also determined on Saturday, when the young Thai-Australian combination of Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Jessica Moore beat China's Lu Jing-Jing and Xu Yi-Fan, 76(3) 16 103. Dinara Safina and Galina Voskoboeva booked their berth in the title bout on Friday.

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