Bertens Shocks Halep To Reach Fès Final
Published April 27, 2012 09:01
FÈS, Morocco - After five days jam packed with more twists and turns than a trip round Fès' Medina souk, it is no surprise that the last two players standing at this year's Grand Prix De SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem, Kiki Bertens and Laura Pous-Tio, are both WTA final debutantes.
The pair's presence in Saturday's final is even more remarkable in light of the fact that, prior to this week, Pous-Tio had won just one match in 2012 and Bertens had never been beyond the first round at a WTA event. However, on Friday both players rendered these statistics meaningless with mature, if contrasting, performances in their respective semifinals.
Bertens, who had to come through two rounds of qualifying just to make the main draw, faced the highest-ranked player left in the tournament, No.5 seed Simona Halep. In the previous round, Halep had produced a scintillating display to thrash top seed Anabel Medina Garrigues, but she had no answer to Bertens' controlled aggression from the baseline, going down in a tight match, 63 64.
"It has been a great week so far," Bertens said. "It's my first WTA final so I think I'm going to be very nervous but I'm going to try a play it like it's just another match.
"It will be tough in the final and I think there will be lots of long rallies so I'll need to be fit for tomorrow."
While Bertens' match was cagy, with just a handful of breaks over the two sets, Pous-Tio's match with Mathilde Johansson was more of an open affair.
Pous-Tio came racing out of the blocks and capitalized on the Frenchwoman's early nerves to wrap up the opening set for the loss of just 10 points. The second set, though, was a different story, with a run of four games in succession helping Johansson level the match up.
After an early exchange of breaks, the decider went with serve until the final game when Pous-Tio capitalized on some shaky serving to seal a 61 26 75 win.
"I was really pleased with my mental game today," Pous-Tio said. "It was a really tough third set and I had a lot of nerves because it was my fourth time in a WTA semifinal and I knew I had a good chance of getting to a final. I was just glad I could play well at the end and make the final."
There was further drama in the doubles, with both semifinals going to match tie-breaks. In the top half of the draw the Romanian duo of Irina-Camelia Begu and Alexandra Cadantu saw off Czech twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, 64 46 105. Meeting them in the final will be Petra Cetkovska and Alexandra Panova, who defeated Timea Babos and Mandy Minella, 67(5) 62 106.