Johannesburg - South Africa’s Chanel Simmonds recorded a straight set 6-2, 6-2 win against Ukrainian fourth seed Nadiya Kichenok on Friday, to book her place in the Soweto Open final.
The final was scheduled for Saturday, where Simmonds would come up against top seed Timea Babos of Hungary.
This was the first time a South African made it to the final of the women’s event in Jabavu, Soweto.
"It was a tough game, with really tough conditions for me, and a bit of an ugly match because of the wind. Nadiya hits the ball hard and flat and so I struggled with my rhythm; in fact I think both of us struggled today because of the wind."
With the scores level at two all in the first set, Simmonds won four games in a row to take the opener 6-2. She carried the momentum into the second set, concluding the match with the same score line as the opening set.
"It was a bit of a mental struggle for me because I just had to keep the ball deep, but it’s hard because of how she was hitting the ball. I had to make her hit a lot of balls because she was definitely going for them more than me.
"I was struggling and getting nervous, but I just focused on making her play and being aggressive and it worked out in the end," Simmonds said.
In the other semi-final, Babos beat Serbia’s Teodora Mircic 6-1, 6-3, securing her place in the final.
"I really enjoyed playing today. I think in the first couple [of] matches I put too much pressure on myself," said Babos.
"The wind was an advantage for me because I love serving in the wind. I think I struggled a bit with my serve all week, but yesterday [Thursday] I played a very good second set and almost perfect third set, so I just continued that game and was pretty confident."
The top seed said she would remain confident ahead of her encounter with Simmonds.
"It’s definitely not going to be an easy match tomorrow and I need to be as confident as I was today. If I play my good tennis then I think I have a good chance of winning.
"Chanel plays really solid and doesn’t miss too many balls, and it will be important for me to get my big serve in and control the points straight away."
Meanwhile the duo of Simmonds and Magda Linette were crowned the doubles champions after they beat Great Britain’s Samantha Murray and Jade Windley in straight sets 6-1, 6-3.