Linz: Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic will face Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the final of the WTA event here after they claimed contrasting victories on Saturday.
Seventh seed Ivanovic took just 70 minutes to sweep aside Italian Roberta Vinci 6-3, 7-5, while unseeded Schnyder battled for two hours and 15 minutes and saved two match points before claiming a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win over sixth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic.
It appeared as if Schnyder would canter to an easy victory as she swept through the first five games, but Petkovic eventually began to assert herself.
She then broke the Swiss left-hander’s serve with a winning return, and although it was too late to save the opening set she pulled herself into contention in the second.
Schnyder broke at love to lead 2-1, but Petkovic leveled at 3-3 and after holding serve in the next game she received attention for a blister on the index finger of her racquet hand.
Schnyder then dropped her next service game at love, broke as Petkovic served for the set at 5-3, but conceded her serve again as Petkovic broke on her fifth set point.
After a break each in the middle of the third set, Schnyder then faced two match points on her serve at 5-4, but she saved the first with a forehand winner and Petkovic made a forehand error on the second.
Schnyder then broke for 6-5 when Petkovic netted a forehand and went on to serve out the match.
“It’s really nice that I pulled it out actually,” said Schnyder, who lost the 2007 final to Daniela Hantuchova.
“I thought I played a great match in the third set. I was a bit lucky to save the match points but I deserved to win it.
“I just started the way I wanted, mixed it up, and she couldn’t hit a ball inside the court. It didn’t give me much rhythm and it took me a while to get back into the game.
“That’s how it happens. We have no rallies, and suddenly she starts to play better and I have to get adjusted and it took a little too long unfortunately.
“But I was glad how I finished the rallies and came through at the end.”
Ivanovic, whose last title came at Linz two years ago, saved a break point in the first game and then broke with a forehand winner to lead 2-0.
That was enough to decide the outcome of the first set, and after an exchange of breaks early in the second the Serb broke again at 5-5 and closed out the match with her eighth ace.
“I really played well, especially in the first set. I felt like I was hardly missing,” said Ivanovic.
“Then she started playing a lot better in the second set and I managed to stay on top of her with my serves actually. I was serving really well and that made life a lot easier.”