LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- No.3 seed Alizé Cornet is back in another clay-court final in Switzerland, as the Frenchwoman defeated Tamara Korpatsch of Germany, 6-3, 6-4, to reach the final of the Ladies Open Lausanne.
"It was a very tough match, physically very demanding," Cornet said, after the match. "[Korpatsch] was doing a lot of variation, a lot of high balls, running very well, defending very well, so I had to control the game and I had to be aggressive the whole match. It was not easy, with the conditions and the heat, but I'm very happy to be through in two sets, and to be back in the final here in Switzerland."
World No.48 Cornet claimed the title last year when the event was held in Gstaad, and she will go for the championship once again after getting past 142nd-ranked Korpatsch after one hour and 45 minutes of play on Saturday.
"It’s crazy to go to the final back-to-back like this, it doesn’t happen very often," said Cornet. "I guess I’m just feeling good and feeling at home in Switzerland. The conditions here with the clay and the altitude, it’s helping my game, and I just hope to do the same result as last year."
The 29-year-old Frenchwoman, ranked as high as World No.11 in her career, had to fight through a complicated second set against Korpatsch, but reeled off four straight games from 2-4 down to earn the straight-set victory. Cornet converted seven of her 13 break points during the match.
Cornet, who is into her 13th WTA singles final and seeks her seventh title, will face compatriot Fiona Ferro for the title. Ferro claimed a spot in the first WTA singles final of her career after easing past American Bernarda Pera, 6-1, 6-4, in the earlier semifinal. It will be the first meeting between the Frenchwomen.
"I think it’s going to be hard and beautiful at the same time," Cornet said, looking forward to the final. "[Ferro is] the new generation of the French players, and she’s such a nice girl. She’s a bit like my little sister on the tour, and I like her a lot.
"It’s nice that she’s playing her first WTA final against me, and the best may win. I think it’s going to be tough with the nerves. Even for me, it’s not my first final, it’s my 13th final, but it’s always tough, especially when you play a friend. But in both cases it’s going to be beautiful, because either I win or my friend wins, so that’s a pretty good final."
Cornet got off to a hot start, breaking Korpatsch with a return winner in the first game. The German, however, returned the favor, breaking back at love with a winning dropshot on break point. Korpatsch was unable to maintain momentum, though, misfiring on a dropshot on the second break point of the following game to give Cornet the 2-1 lead.
Strong defense by Cornet drew errors from Korpatsch as she increased her lead to a double-break at 4-1. Although the German grabbed one of the two service breaks back, Cornet claimed the one-set lead after breaking Korpatsch at love, finishing the opening frame with a dropshot winner.
Korpatsch mixed up her tactics well at the start of the second set, alternating patches of aggressive pinpoint groundstrokes with adept defense. The German was rewarded with two breaks of the Cornet service in the first six games as she advanced to a 4-2 lead.
Cornet had to conjure up all of her grit to stave off two break points at 4-2 after leading 40-0, eventually finding variety and range on her backhand side to hold serve in the five-deuce battle and stay within a single break. The Frenchwoman took advantage of that opportunity, firing an error-forcing forehand to get back level at 4-4.
The third seed fended off another break point with a swing volley in the next game before holding for 5-4. Korpatsch then led 40-15 on her serve, but more solid backhands from Cornet and a Korpatsch double fault pulled the French player to match point. There, Korpatsch missed long, and Cornet claimed a fourth straight game and, with it, a return trip to the final.