India's Sania Mirza fought her way through a gruelling three-set semifinal at the Pattaya Open on Saturday, winning 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 for the chance to take on top seed Vera Zvonareva for the trophy.
Mirza sought to show off past glories as she took on up-and-coming talent Magdalena Rybarikova, but the Slovakian fought back hard in a match that took more than two hours and enthralled the crowd in Thailand's southern gulf.
Mirza used her big forehand to take the first set 6-4 and maintained her momentum to hold a 5-3 lead in the second set before Rybarikova upped her tempo and broke back to eventually take the set 7-5.
But the effort Rybarikova had mustered took its toll and she needed attention from her trainer for a back injury in the deciding set. The injury appeared to hamper the Slovakian's movement and she lost the final set 6-1 to secure Mirza her first spot in a tournament final since Stamford in 2007.
Mirza will now be up against Russia's Zvonareva in Sunday's deciding match after the top seed cruised to an easy 6-0, 6-1 win against Israel's Shahar Peer. The resurgent Peer had been expected to give Zvonareva a real test but instead the favourite raced to a 5-0 lead before Peer could get a game on the board and the set was quickly wrapped up 6-1.
Seventh-seed Peer found her rhythm in the second and the match went with serve until the seventh game when Zvonareva broke Peer's resistance.
Murray rushes past Ancic into final
ROTTERDAM: Andy Murray needed just over an hour to defeat Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-1, 6-2 and advance to the final of the World Indoor Tournament on Saturday. Meanwhile, world number one Rafael Nadal outlasted Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 on Friday to reach the semis of the World Indoor Tournament.
Roddick in semis
San Jose: Top-seeded Andy Roddick cruised into the semi-finals of the 600,000-dollar ATP hardcourt tournament here Friday as second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro was bundled out by Mardy Fish. Roddick, the defending champion and a three-time winner here, overcame German veteran Tommy Haas 7-5, 6-4 in 1hr 37min.
Robredo in final
Costa do Sauipe: Tommy Robredo dismantled Jose Acasuso 6-2, 6-1 to reach the Brazil Open final on Friday and avenge a loss to the Argentine last week. Agencies