Dubai: Sandra Zahlavova will meet Regina Kulikova in the singles final of the 11th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge being held at the Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa at 3pm today.
In a battle between the only two seeds remaining, No 7 Zahlavova had an easy 6-2, 7-6 (4) win against the third seeded Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, while Kulikova battled past a gritty Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in exactly three hours in the first semifinal.
The doubles title was also decided yesterday with the top-seeded pairing of Vladimira Uhlirova and Renata Voracova from the Czech Republic crashing against fourth seeds Julia Goerges and Oksana Kalashnikova 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.
Khalaf Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Habtoor Group of Companies was the chief guest and presented the doubles winners with their trophies.
Entrance to the singles final is free to all.
"I think it was nervousness at trying to finish off the match after it started drizzling a bit," Zahlavova told Gulf News.
"But I am glad it ended with the tie-break in my favour as it helps me go into the final with a much better frame of mind," the seventh seed added.
The Czech took the first set quite easily with a couple of breaks 6-2 and then was clear 4-1 when she dropped her guard to see her Swiss opponent draw level 4-4. "It was a bit of a mental thing," Zahlavova said.
Earlier, in what was arguably some of the better tennis seen at the Al Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa courts, Kulikova battled past a resilient Bojana Jovanovski 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in exactly three hours. "The key at all times was to stay aggressive and fight till the end," Kulikova said.
"It was a tough match and it was important for me to win and carry something forward going into the final," the 128th ranked Russian added.
Though defeated, Jovanovski took her chances. After both players had exchanged breaks early, Kulikova got another one in the third and then held to go 3-1 up. But Jovanovski battled on and came close with Kulikova serving for the match.
"I did not take the chances that came my way," the Serbian rued.
- (Singles semifinals) Regina Kulikova bt Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-1; Sandra Zahlavova vs Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 7-6 (4).
- (Doubles finals) Julia Goerges/Oksana Kalashnikova bt Vladimira Uhlirova/Renata Voracova 4-6, 6-2, 10-8.