BRUSSELS, Belgium - It didn't come easily but Agnieszka Radwanska recorded her 35th match win of the season on Friday, edging Kaia Kanepi in the semifinals of the Brussels Open, 76(8) 63. Simona Halep is up next.
It was a nightmare start for Radwanska, as No.8 seed Kanepi's massive serves and groundstrokes helped her build a 5-1, two-break lead in the first set; but the No.1-seeded Radwanska shifted gears from there, winning five of the next six games to push the first set to a tie-break, then saving two set points there to close the set out. Radwanska would rally from 2-0 down in the second set too.
"Kaia started the match very well and I made a few mistakes, and suddenly it was 1-5," Radwanska said. "It's always tough to come back from that. And she served so well today, it was tough to break. But on this surface you can come back and I just thought that I could still do it, that anything could happen.
"It's experience. I've had those leads and lost them too, so I've learned my lesson. You just have to take your chances and fight for it. That's what I did."
Radwanska is now tied with Victoria Azarenka for most match wins on the season with 35, and will now go for her 10th WTA title - she has a 9-2 record in finals and has won her last five finals (all at Premier-level tournaments).
"I'll do everything I can tomorrow to win another title," the World No.3 added.
The second semi saw Halep win an all-unseeded affair with Sofia Arvidsson, 64 63, winning three games in a row from 4-3 down in the first set and five games in a row from 3-1 down in the second set to move into her biggest career final.
"I'm excited because it's my first Premier final," Halep said. "From 3-4 in the first set I really started to believe I could win. It was windy, and my backhand didn't work like it did yesterday, but I played well overall. My coach told me to believe and stay focused every point, and just play my game, and it worked."
Halep's first two WTA finals came at the smaller International-level clay court event in Fès in 2010 and 2011, both of which ended up in straight set losses (to Iveta Benesova in 2010 and Alberta Brianti in 2011). But she has already taken out two seeds this week: Jelena Jankovic and Dominika Cibulkova.
"It will be a tough match against Radwanska but I will try to enjoy it," Halep said. "The only time we played, in Australia last year, she was playing so well. I was a little bit nervous before that match. Tomorrow I'll try to do better."