BEIJING, China - Jelena Jankovic battled back to beat Petra Kvitova in three sets in the semifinals of the China Open, the former World No.1's first win in three career meetings with the former World No.2.
The first set could have gone either way - Kvitova originally led 3-1, Jankovic won four games in a row to go up 5-3 and eventually got to set point at 6-5, but then Kvitova battled back to push the set into overtime, eventually closing it out after 63 minutes on her third set point in the breaker, 9-7.
That would be the No.9-seeded Kvitova's last stand though, as the No.8-seeded Jankovic went on overdrive from there, taking the next two sets in 58 minutes to seal a 67(7) 61 61 runaway victory.
"I'm very thrilled that I was able to beat Kvitova today," Jankovic said. "I lost to her the last two times we played. She has always given me a lot of trouble and didn't allow me to play my game. And even today in the first set she was controlling the points. I was still there, but I didn't feel comfortable.
"But in the next two sets I felt like I went on top of her and took control. And then as the match went on I think she got a little bit tired out there, and then I had everything in my hands, pretty much."
Jankovic is now through to one of the biggest finals of her career - the only one bigger was the US Open in 2008 (where she was a runner-up to Serena Williams) and she has only been to one other Premier Mandatory final, at Indian Wells in 2010 (where she beat Caroline Wozniacki for the title).
Additionally, she is the only player who has played all 10 editions of the China Open - every edition from 2004 to 2013 - and her win over Kvitova was her 20th career match win at the tournament.
"I feel great to be in the finals of the China Open again," Jankovic said. "I love China. I love my Chinese fans. They support me a lot. I feel great here. I've enjoyed coming back here every year. I have great memories of playing here. I played the Olympic Games here and became No.1 in the world when I played the Olympic Games. I won this title in 2008 and was a finalist in 2007, and now again in 2013.
"It's a tournament I love. It's nice to be able to support such a prestigious event. I hope to come here as long as I play. I'm really grateful I've had the success I have had here, and I hope it continues.
"And I think my nails today showed my love for the China Open too!"
Awaiting her in the final is the No.1 seed, Williams, who won her semifinal match later in the day.
"She's the best player in the world right now," Jankovic said of the World No.1. "She's in unbelievable form. Even though I have beaten her in the past - I think I have five, six wins against her - I think she's the most difficult player to play against. She has a lot of experience, winning a lot of titles and winning pretty much everything there is to win. And she's physically so strong, I think stronger than 99% of the players. She has all the shots. When she's on top of her game, it's very difficult to beat her.
"Hopefully I can play my best so that I can at least have a chance."