Venus Williams battled hard to beat former world number one Ana Ivanovic in three sets and book a place in the final of the Zurich Open, where she will meet Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, who ousted Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues in straight sets.
Venus Williams is just one match away from reclaiming the title she last won in 1999 after beating second seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the Zurich Open.
The American will next face unseeded Italian Flavia Pennetta, who defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) to reach her fourth final of the year.
There were some high quality rallies after both Williams and Ivanovic made a less than impressive start.
Williams was woeful for periods of the first set, struggling with almost every aspect of her game, and Ivanovic began and ended her opening service game with double-faults.
Despite her shortcomings the Serb was able to take advantage of her even weaker opponent, and she quickly recovered the early break and broke Williams in the fifth game and then to lead 4-3.
Williams picked up her level in the second set, and after an early exchange of breaks she broke again to lead 4-2 and eventually leveled the match on her fifth set point.
The greater strength and consistency of Williams was the deciding factor in the final set, but the match was decided by just one break of serve, when Ivanovic netted a forehand at 3-3.
"Winning close matches are rewarding, and especially at the end I think we were both competing very well," said Williams. "I think that sometimes it's tough to get a rhythm against her because when she plays me she's just going for everything.
"She plays aggressive to try and take the match away from me and to try and force the issue."
Pennetta's match against Medina Garrigues consisted entirely of long baseline rallies, and it took the Italian a minute over two hours to secure her victory after saving a set point in the tiebreak.
Medina Garrigues took the lead in both sets as both skilfully moved their opponent around the court, but she was less consistent and less aggressive than Pennetta and was unable to maintain her advantage.
The Spaniard broke to lead 3-1 when Pennetta netted a forehand, but the Italian responded by fighting off a point to go behind 4-1 and then swept five straight games to take the set.
Medina Garrigues then broke to lead 2-1 in the second set, but Pennetta leveled at 3-3.
With both players evenly matched and the set seemingly heading for a tiebreak, Medina Garrigues broke to lead 6-5 when Pennetta netted a backhand.
But she was unable to serve out the set, and also failed to win a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreak before Pennetta secured victory on her first match point when her opponent sent a forehand sailing high over the baseline.
"It was very tough right from the beginning," said Pennetta. "We know each other very well and spend so much time together, and it's always tough to play a good friend.
"But I think I was a little bit more consistent, and physically I think I was just a little bit faster and stronger."
Date created : 2008-10-18