GUANGZHOU, China - The last time a British player was in the final of a WTA event, Steffi Graf was on top of the rankings and New Kids On The Block were on top of the charts. However, on Friday evening Laura Robson ended 22 years of hurt, defeating Sorana Cirstea to reach the final of the GRC Bank Guangzhou International Women's Open.
Here she will face Hsieh Su-Wei, and after the string of impressive displays produced this week, Robson will be confident of ending another long wait by becoming the first Briton to lift a WTA title since Sara Gomer triumphed in Aptos back in 1988.
Robson made a hesitant start, fending off three break points in the opening game, but soon grew into the contest, building a 5-1 first set lead. Despite a late wobble, Robson eventually closed out the set and took a stranglehold on the match when Cirstea netted a forehand to offer up an early break in the second.
Another break in the sixth game tightened her grip further and shortly afterwards she wrapped up a 64 62 win.
"I'm feeling good, I played well today," Robson said. "Sorana is a really tough player to play because she plays so aggressive and hits so many winners.
"I kept trying to take the ball early to take the time away from her and give me more of a chance in the rallies."
In the final Robson faces an altogether different challenge, as she attempts to solve the riddle that is Hsieh's unorthodox game. For two of the three sets in the other semifinal, the smorgasbord of spins, angles and net rushing offered up by Hsieh proved too much for Urszula Radwanska, who went down 61 36 60, and Robson is wary of the challenge that lies ahead.
"She plays quite differently from most of the players and I need to be ready for this. I played her once before last year in Japan and I lost and all through the match I could never tell what shot she was going to hit next," Robson added.
Following Robson and Hsieh on court will be the doubles final which pits top seeds Jarmila Gajdosova and Monica Niculescu against Tamarine Tanasugarn and home favorite Zhang Shuai, after both teams came through with straight set wins.