Bartoli v Cibulkova in Carlsbad
Carlsbad, California - Top-seeded Marion Bartoli rebounded from a poor first set for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over qualifier Chan Yung-Jan on Saturday that sent her into the final of the Mercury Insurance Open.
The Frenchwoman will face second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 7-6 (10/8), 6-1 winner over Russia's Nadia Petrova in the other semi-final.
Bartoli had 20 unforced errors and seven double-faults in the first set before she straightened out her game to win her third straight three-set match this week.
"My ankle was really bothering me at the beginning, and the doctor gave me some anti-inflammatories before the match started," Bartoli said. "It took 45 minutes before the anti-inflammatories started to kick in, and I was feeling a lot better in the second and the third set."
Bartoli had to overcome her inconsistent serve, which produced 14 double-faults.
The combination of Chan's solid ground strokes and Bartoli's sporadic play made the first set a rout for the Taiwanese. But Bartoli began to play noticeably better in the second set and Chan became tentative.
Bartoli went up a break at 2-1 in the third set and never relinquished the lead. Bartoli, who has seven career titles, will be looking for her first since October.
"I started to hit the ball harder, but also I gave myself a bit more room in the return of (the) serve," Bartoli said. "When I was able to break her in the beginning of the second set, she started to feel not that confident."
After Cibulkova came back in the tiebreaker to pull out the first set, she dominated the second set over a visibly tired Petrova to reach her second final of the season.
"The key why I won the match was after she was up 4-0 (in the tie-break), I just said to myself, 'I don't want to give it up. I just want to make it as tough as I can for her,'" Cibulkova said.
The fourth-seeded Petrova called for the trainer for heat illness at the end of the tie-breaker.
"I was trying to not pay attention to her," Cibulkova said. "I saw in the last game of the match that she was running, so it's good that I didn't pay attention to her."
Cibulkova, looking for her first title of the season, broke Petrova's serve to start the second set and ran out to a 4-0 lead for her third consecutive straight-set victory. Petrova won only 12 points in the second set.
Petrova served for the first set at 6-5, but Cibulkova broke back on a backhand passing shot. After Cibulkova rallied in the tiebreaker to pull out the first set, she dominated the second set over a visibly tired Petrova to reach her second final of the season.