Ana Ivanovic and Vera Zvonareva had contrasting victories on Saturday to reach the final of the Linz Open.
Top seeded Serbian Ivanovic battled for over two hours to beat third seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, while Russian second seed Zvonareva needed only 51 minutes to trounce sixth seed Marion Bartoli of France 6-0, 6-1.
Ivanovic and Radwanska played to a high standard. Ivanovic served and returned better and struck powerfully from the baseline but Radwanska was smarter and more persistent.
The Serb gave up just three points on serve in the first set but her opponent became more aggressive in the second, often forcing Ivanovic into errors.
Ivanovic did not give up the set lightly, though, and twice recovered a break. Even after a forehand error gave Radwanska a further break to lead 5-3 the Pole needed four set points to level the match.
The final set was also tense. Ivanovic broke to lead 5-3, but two double-faults and a netted forehand allowed Radwanska to break back, and the outcome was finally settled when she netted a backhand volley to drop her serve at 6-5.
"I was very emotional. It was a lot of up and downs in the third set," said Ivanovic, who reached her first final since winning the French Open in June.
"I think the best thing I did was managing to stay calm and fight through the whole match, especially at 5-5 in the third set."
Zvonareva barely broke sweat against Bartoli.
After winning just six points on serve in the first set Bartoli continued to struggle in the second, and did not earn a game point until the 11th game.
The beleaguered Frenchwoman then won her only game when Zvonareva double-faulted but it was a brief reprieve.
Zvonareva broke again to lead 5-1 but then struggled to close out the match, saving four break points before finally moving into the final on her third match point.
"It was definitely a good performance from me," said Zvonareva. "I think I was staying pretty aggressive throughout the match and executed well in the important moments and that probably made the difference."