Andrea Petkovic reached the final of the BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games in WTA Antwerp where she will meet Carla Suarez Navarro.
Suarez Navarro had it easy, breezing past WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-2 to reach her first final of the season. The Spaniard withstood some heavy serving in their last meeting in the Sydney quarter-finals earlier this year, but got her revenge as Pliskova’s serve was not firing nearly as well, throwing in a fistful of double-faults to boot.
Petkovic prevailed in a topsy-turvy match against a feisty Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. From 4-0 up Petkovic lost five straight games to the Czech, who served for the first set at 6-5, she was broken and Petkovic went on to take the tie-break comfortably.
The German seemed to tighten up as soon as she nudged ahead, giving the Czech a way back into the set, and into another tie-break, which Petkovic closed out 7-6(2) 7-6(6).
(LUC CLAESSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
For both players, there is a rankings landmark in sight. Petkovic made it back to the Top 10 for the first since 2011, and is now the German No. 1. It is a welcome return to form after she went through the early part of the year without two wins back to back. Suarez is projected to surpass her previous best of 14 just by reaching the final and could climb to No. 12 if she wins on Sunday.
By contrast to Petkovic, Suarez Navarro started the year with two quarter-finals in Brisbane and Sydney but was one of the first round seeded casualties in the opening round of the Australian Open.
The Spaniard plays with a great deal of variety, and has a powerful single handed backhand, and on one of her favourite surfaces, she will look to utilise the court well. This could cause Petkovic some issues – she does not find defence a natural mode and at times can look mechanical in her approach, but with her confidence up, the German will hope to have one last fight in her for the weekend.
Petkovic and Suarez Navarro are scheduled on Centre Court, not before 2:30pm (1:30pm GMT).