Saturday, February 2, 2013

Barthel back on track and in Paris final

In 2011, it looked like the big-hitting Mona Barthel was on her way up the rankings, but in 2012, she had trouble getting out of the first round of events. Something was wrong, obviously, but in the last part of the season, the German player started looking like herself again. All certainly seems to be well now; Barthel defeated Kristina Mladenovic in the Paris semifinals today, and will play top seed Sara Errani in the final.

Mladenovic was the crowd favorite, of course. The Frenchwoman, who came into the event with a wild card, took out both Julia Goerges and Petra Kvitova on her way to the semifinals. Her match against Barthel was entertaining and of high quality. Barthel took the match 6-1, 6-4, but that scoreline is somewhat misleading.

Barthel had first and second serve win percentages of 84 and 60, and saved all three of the break points against her.

Errani won her semifinal when Kiki Bertens retired with a back injury. (That was the second retirement against Errani in the tournament.) It's worth mentioning that, to get to the semifinals, lucky loser Bertens defeated Tamira Paszek, 4th seed Dominka Cibulkova and 6th seed Lucie Safarova.

In doubles, top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci got a walkover from Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova. In the other semifinal, 2nd seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber defeated Vera Dushevina and Anabel Medina Garrigues in a very close match. Errani now has a chance to sweep the tournament by winning both titles; she has some tough competition.

In Pattaya City, 5th seed Sabine Lisicki stopped Nina Bratchikova's run and advanced to the final. Her opponent will be 4th seed Maria Kirilenko, who handily (6-2, 6-0) beat Sorana Cirstea in the semifinals.

The doubles final will feature the team of Kimiko Date-Krumm and Casey Dellacqua, playing against Akgul Amanmuradova and Alexandra Panova. Date-Krumm and Dellacqua eliminated top seeds Chang Kai-Chen and Vania King in the second round. 2nd seeds Marina Erakovic and Heather Watson lost to Amanmuradova and Panova in the opening round.

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