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Sabine Secures Final Four Spot

Sabine Lisicki edged Marina Erakovic to reach the semis at the PTT Pattaya Open. Also, Sorana Cirstea and Maria Kirilenklo set up a rematch from last year.

Published February 01, 2013 06:19

Sabine Secures Final Four Spot
Sabine Lisicki

PATTAYA CITY, Thailand - It was a bit of a struggle, but big-serving German Sabine Lisicki made it through to her first final four since 2011 at the PTT Pattaya Open on Friday.

2011 was a banner year for Lisicki, as she won her second and third WTA titles to go along with three semifinal showings - one of which came at Wimbledon. But in 2012 she was plagued by abdominal and left ankle injuries and never went beyond a final eight, losing in each of those four occasions. 

The former World No.12 fell out of the Top 50 at the start of this week, but after two straight-setters was a 57 63 62 winner over Marina Erakovic to secure a semifinal spot.

"I didn't serve perfectly," the fifth-seeded Lisicki said. "My service games were always close, but I was also almost always holding. That gave me a lot of confidence later when I was a break point down or at 15-30, that I could serve my way out of it. Sometimes the negative, you can turn into a positive."

Sure enough, at 2-1 in the second set Lisicki survived a seven-deuce service game, punctuating it with two of her nine aces.

"I found my rhythm in the second set and never looked back after that," Lisicki said.

Next up for Lisicki is Russian Nina Bratchikova, who defeated Ayumi Morita, 61 36 61, to make her first WTA semifinal.

The other semifinal will see No.4 seed Sorana Cirstea take on No.2 seed Maria Kirilenko in a rematch of one of last year's Pattaya City semifinals won by Kirilenko in a tight three-setter.

Cirstea had the easiest time of it Friday, needing just 56 minutes to record a 63 60 victory over Anastasija Sevastova. The Romanian is the only one of the semifinalists yet to drop a set.

"At the beginning it was very tight but then I broke her at 4-3 and I started to play better," Cirstea said. "I'm very happy with how I've been playing the whole tournament.

"I really like this tournament. I think maybe that's why I'm playing so well here."

Kirilenko fought off two set points in the first set tie-break and reeled off five straight games down 3-1 in the second set to get past Elena Vesnina, 76(6) 63.

"Elena has improved a lot this year," Kirilenko said. "It seems she has been working very hard. Now she looks like a Top 20 player. It was a difficult match. The first set was very tight, almost one-and-a-half hours. The second set I definitely played better. I'm just happy I was able to get through such a tough match."

Kirilenko is now 4-0 against her fellow 26-year-old Russian.

"It was a great match against Maria," Vesnina said. "I was just a little bit unlucky in the first set tie-break, with one or two balls making the difference. I tried to come back in the second set, but I just didn't have the energy. It feels like I played two tournaments this week with the conditions and all the rain. But no excuses, Maria is a great Top 20 player, a fighter."

In quarterfinal doubles action Friday, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Casey Dellacqua took out No.1 seeds Erakovic and Heather Watson. Dellacqua is coming off a run to the final at the Australian Open alongside fellow Aussie Ashleigh Barty.

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