TAIPEI CITY, Chinese Taipei - Wildcard Sabine Lisicki will face No.2 seed Luksika Kumkhum in the final of the Taipei OEC Open after overcoming Vitalia Diatchenko in three sets, 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The former Wimbledon finalist approached her semifinal having not dropped a single set all week but found the going trickier against the No.6 seed.
Lisicki started in perfect fashion, breaking in the opening game of the match, yet her Russian opponent levelled rapidly after a lengthy tug of war on the German’s serve, which set her up to win six in succession, including a monster fifth game that saw five deuces before it was finally decided.
The 29-year-old put an end to the run by holding at the start of the second, then broke in the fourth to build a lead that she maintained throughout to force a decider.
Lisicki immediate gained the initiative in the third, coming from 30-15 down to break, and from there established a 3-0 lead that seemed likely to be decisive.
However, Diatchenko showed admirable mental strength to win four games in succession to get back on serve and take to the lead, thereby putting the pressure back on her opponent.
Now it was Lisicki’s opportunity to show her fortitude, pushing the set to 5-5 before winning the last eight points to move into the final.
Kumkhum awaits the German after she defeated Bibiane Schoofs, 7-5, 6-3.
The Thai was somewhat erratic on serve in a match that saw numerous breaks, yet her return game was strong enough to dispatch her Dutch opponent.
Schoofs held leads in both sets, but the 25-year-old rallied to edge them both by a single break and therefore set up a date with Lisicki as she chases her second WTA 125K title.