LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - Germany's Mona Barthel finds herself one match from a fourth career WTA title after easing past wildcard Stefanie Voegele, 6-2, 6-3, in the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open semifinals. Awaiting Barthel in the final is Misaki Doi, who made her first WTA final after WTA Rising Star Alison Van Uytvanck was forced to retire after losing the first set, 6-4.
Barthel and Voegele last played in Luxembourg two years ago, with the Swiss edging out a thrilling third-set tie-break. The unseeded Barthel had far fewer troubles on Saturday, dropping just five points behind her first serve and converting four of five break point opportunities to win in just under an hour.
"It was a really good match," Barthel said after the match. "I didn't expect it would go that well for me, but I'm happy with the way I played. I think I played really solid and aggressive, but didn't make a lot of mistakes."
Barthel is hoping to end her season with two titles, as she still had her doubles semifinal to play later on that day.
"It would be great, but it's a tough match. I actually played against them in Bastad, and it was really close. But it's going to be another tough match today. I'm just happy to finish the year like that."
In the second semifinal, Doi won a close opening set against Van Uytvanck, who defeated two top seeds in Ana Ivanovic and Barbora Strycova just to reach this stage. But the Belgian ultimately had to forfeit due to persistent symptoms of a viral illness.
It was a bittersweet finish for the Japanesewoman, who herself had upset former No.1 Jelena Jankovic on Friday and played a thrilling three-setter against WTA Rising Star Belinda Bencic at the US Open - but she was nonetheless excited to have made her first career WTA final.
"I will try to just focus my tennis and not think about the fact that it's a final," Doi said in her post-match press conference.
Doi had come into the tournament on a four-match losing streak, but credits her opening round upset against No.4 seed Andrea Petkovic as helping to turn things around in Luxembourg.
"I'd lost a little bit of confidence, but then I played Petkovic, and I was feeling good after that."
Doi last played Barthel last year at the China Open, with the German winning in three sets.
"It's not easy, but I don't think it's that difficult, either," Doi said of the physical demands this week has presented.