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Radwanska & Wickmayer Into Auckland Final

Agnieszka Radwanska and Yanina Wickmayer fended off inspired semifinal opponents on Friday afternoon to reach the final of the ASB Classic. They are 1-1 in their head-to-head series.

Published January 04, 2013 12:00

Radwanska & Wickmayer Into Auckland Final
Yanina Wickmayer

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Agnieszka Radwanska and Yanina Wickmayer became the first two WTA finalists of the year on Friday afternoon, battling into the title match at the ASB Classic.

The No.3-seeded Wickmayer was the first to move through to the final two, holding off big-serving No.8 seed Mona Barthel, 64 16 76(3). After taking the first set, Wickmayer was blown out in 21 minutes in the second set; but she regrouped just in time for a third set that was dominated by the server, with no breaks at all - in the breaker it was all Wickmayer, who stormed out to a 6-1 lead and hung on.

"It was really tough to get a rhythm on her serve - it's really tough to read, and when she served a bit slower the wind was taking it," Wickmayer said of the Barthel serve, which produced 12 aces. "I managed to stay mentally strong in the tie-break - I'm happy with the way I handled that pressure."

Radwanska, the No.1 seed, followed with another tough win, beating Jamie Hampton, 76(4) 76(3). Playing in her first WTA semifinal, Hampton definitely showed a lot of promise - not only did she hold a set point at 6-5 in the first set, which she double faulted on, but she also went on an incredible run of five games in the second set, going from 0-4 to 5-4, winning 14 of 15 points at one point. But the experienced Radwanska hung on for the victory and snapped up the second final berth.

Radwanska and Wickmayer are 1-1 head-to-head, but Wickmayer's win came when Radwanska wasn't in the Top 5 - Wickmayer is actually a dubious 0-6 in her career against Top 5 players.

"She doesn't give you any free points - she makes you work for every shot," Wickmayer said. "It will be tough to find a balance between being aggressive and not making too many mistakes. But once I find that rhythm I think we're going to have a good match. We'll see - I've got nothing to lose."

"Yanina is a strong player who serves very well," Radwanska said. "I've never been in a final in my first tournament of the year, so it's a good start, and I'm going to do everything in my power to win that match tomorrow. Winning a title is a great thing, especially at a tournament I haven't played before."

The doubles final is also noteworthy in that it features former World No.1 Cara Black, who is playing her first WTA tournament since becoming a mother last spring. The Zimbabwean is unseeded alongside Anastasia Rodionova and they will play No.1 seeds Julia Goerges and Yaroslava Shvedova.

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