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In an evenly matched contest lasting nearly two and a half hours, the match hinged on one piece of brilliance midway through the final set. Leading 2-1, Oprandi conjured up a perfectly weighted drop shot to earn her what turned out to be the decisive break. Fifteen minutes later, she produced another moment of inspiration, passing Hantuchova down the line to wrap up a 75 36 63 win.
"I knew that it was going to be a tough match," Oprandi said. "I think we both played pretty good. It was a close match. I'm just happy that at the end I was able to win.
"Tomorrow is going to be another difficult match. I'm just excited to play another match in this tournament. I'm going to try to recover now and I will try to do my best."
Last year, the Swiss player reached the semifinals on the clay of Oeiras and Brussels. Unfortunately, she was unable to build on these performances, when her rise up the rankings was put on hold for eight months because of a persistent shoulder injury.
Progress on her return was slow, but a couple of solid showings on the ITF Circuit and a quarterfinal run in Bogotá served notice of what was to come this week. Standing between her and the title will be another WTA final debutante, María-Teresa Torró-Flor.
Like Oprandi, Torró-Flor endured a difficult start to the season, but now back on her favored clay she has looked at home in Morocco, cruising into the final without dropping a set. Her latest conquest was fellow Spaniard and No.5 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, who she brushed aside with surprising ease.
After breezing through the opening set in just 20 minutes, Torró-Flor experienced a dip at the start of the second when an early break helped Muguruza open up a 3-0 lead. However, this setback only proved to strengthen Torró-Flor's resolve, and she reeled off the following six games to close out a 60 63 triumph.
"It was a difficult match because this year Muguruza is playing very well. I knew it from the beginning that it wasn't going to be easy to beat her," Torró-Flor said.
"For sure it will also be a tough match in the final. Oprandi has played very well so far and I know that she runs well and fights for every single ball."