01/05/2015 – It’ll be WTA Rising Star against WTA Rising Star for the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem title as Elina Svitolina and Timea Babos square off in Saturday’s final.
Elina Svitolina and Timea Babos made it through an all-WTA Rising Star semifinal line-up to move into the final of the Grand Prix SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Marrakech.
Babos was the first to advance, beating good friend and doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic in the first semifinal match of the day, 6:4, 6:4. Things were tightening up at the end as Babos served for the match, as she missed out on her first two match points and then double faulted to give Mladenovic a break point to get things back on serve, but she fought that off and won it on match point No.3.
Babos and Mladenovic would take the court again later in the day and capture the doubles title.
“Obviously it was a very difficult situation today, because Kiki is my good friend, and it’s not easy to play singles against each other and then play doubles together,” Babos said after the match. “I think we were both a bit nervous. We both wanted to win. But we played a high quality match with a lot of winners and good points. I had a clear picture in my mind how I wanted to play this match.
“I’m just very happy to get into the final and maybe go home with two titles this week.”
The No.4-seeded Svitolina followed Babos into the final with a 6:0, 6:3 win over No.7-seeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, blanking the Slovak in just 28 minutes in the first set and then fighting back from 3-2 down in the second set to close the semifinal clash out after just 63 minutes on the court.
“I was very pleased with the match today,” Svitolina told wtatennis.com afterwards.
“I had a clear plan from the start, and I felt I was moving really well too. I think I didn’t make that many unforced errors in the first set, and also played aggressively when I had my chances.”
Both players have perfect records in WTA finals, though both are still in the early stages of their careers, Svitolina 2-0 (winning Baku in 2013 and 2014) and Babos 1-0 (winning Monterrey in 2012).
Svitolina beat Babos in their only previous encounter, though it was at an ITF Women’s Circuit event in 2013, and it couldn’t have been any closer – the Ukrainian prevailed in a third set tie-break.
“I’ve played well all week, had some huge matches and big fights,” Babos said. “I know Elina will bring another big fight. She’s a great player. I want to enjoy this moment and give my best to win tomorrow.”
“I hope I can keep my form going,” Svitolina said. “She’s playing well too, so it should be good.” (www.wtatennis.com)