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Bartoli, Petkovic Into Strasbourg Final

The French and German No.1s, who happen to be Strasbourg's top two seeds, will do battle for the title on Saturday.

Published May 20, 2011 05:07

Bartoli, Petkovic Into Strasbourg Final
Andrea Petkovic

STRASBOURG, France - French No.1 Marion Bartoli achieved a career milestone on Friday, when the 26-year-old beat Anabel Medina Garrigues to reach her first WTA final on home soil. For the title the top seed faces German No.1 and tournament No.2 seed Andrea Petkovic, who was pushed the distance by Daniela Hantuchova in the other semi.

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"I played a long match with Anabel in Rome last week, losing after two sets and more than two hours on court," said Bartoli, who was out there just 76 minutes this time, winning eight games on the trot from 0-1. "So for me to win 61 62 is very pleasing - especially on clay, with the way I play, aiming to hit a lot of winners.

"It worked today, so there is a lot of satisfaction - but tomorrow is another day," she added. "It's the final, so it's a very special day and hopefully I will be able to play the same way. For now I have to put my dreams in my pocket!"

Bartoli will be contesting her 13th WTA final on Saturday; she is 5-7 in previous finals, most recently finishing runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at Indian Wells.

"To play in front of home support is a real motivation - a bit of pressure, but much more motivation," she observed, when asked what it is like to play in front of French fans. "When I play outside of France against a player from the home country, she usually has the full support of the crowd behind her and I'm thinking, 'I want to be in France with crowd cheering for me.'

"I think that in some tough situations it's very important to have the crowd behind you, pushing you to find another gear. You don't think you have it in your body but the crowd helps you find that spot to push yourself harder. And of course, at the French Open the crowd is even bigger."

Petkovic's passage proved far more difficult, the German world No.15 toiling the better part of three hours to fell sixth-seeded Hantuchova. Hantuchova led 4-2 in the opener but let it slip, however she made another good start to the second set and held on to level. But it was Petkovic who stole the march with an early break in the decider, and although her Slovak opponent recovered from 3-0 to 4-3, and got within two points of 4-4, Petkovic held on to win, 64 36 64.

"Daniela put me under so much pressure… I was just trying to get back the bombs she was throwing at me," Petkovic said. "At one point she just threw the whole kitchen sink at me, and I just tried to defend myself! I think the most important thing is that I stayed calm and waited for my chances. In the end they came, and I took them, but there was just a little, little difference."

Bartoli and Petkovic will be meeting for the fourth time. Bartoli leads the head-to-head 2-1, but they have split wins in 2011.

The second doubles semifinal was also played on Friday, with No.2 seeds Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova skipping past Melanie Oudin and Zhang Shuai, 61 61. The South African-Czech duo play Akgul Amanmuradova and Chuang Chia-Jung for the title.

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