WTA St. Petersburg: Roberta Vinci Reaches Final With Win Over Ana Ivanovic
Roberta Vinci/ Photo: St.Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

Second seed Roberta Vinci defeated fourth seed Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-4 to advance to her first final since last year's U.S. Open.

Ivanovic starts fast, Vinci closes strong to take the first set

Ivanovic jumped out fast, taking the first three games on the strength of two holds and a break sandwiched in between. She was able to capture the Italian's opening service game with a bit of luck, her forehand clipping the top of the net and Vinci's ensuing forehand going just wide. Vinci would settle down and begin her comeback, following the same pattern as Ivanovic did: a pair of holds with a break sandwiched in between. At 1-3 down, she hit an excellent forehand to break the Ivanovic serve. After that, holds were exchanged up until 5-all. In the decisive 11th game, Vinci came back from 40-15 down on Ivanovic's serve game to win four straight points, the last coming when Ivanovic looped a forehand wide, Vinci now up 6-5. The Italian closed the set out with an exquisite forehand volley, capping an efficient 11/13 set at net and taking the opening stanza 7-5.

Vinci advances to the final on the strength of one break midway through the second set

Unlike the first set, which saw early breaks, the second set went according to form as each player held their first three service games. Vinci would strike the ultimate blow in the seventh game, breaking Ivanovic's serve when the Serb would send a backhand long, Vinci taking a 4-3 lead. Her final two service games (sandwiched in between an Ivanovic hold) would present slight difficulty, but at 5-4 up, a slice backhand forced one final Ivanovic backhand error, going well wide on match point and sending the Italian to the final, her first since last year's U.S. Open. This was Vinci's fourth career win over Ivanovic, all coming on hard courts.

Bencic Next

Vinci will next face top seed Belinda Bencic in Sunday's final. This will be their first career meeting. Vinci indicated she was going to tune in to Bencic's semifinal win over Russian Daria Kasatkina"Probably I'm gonna watch some games, but of course will be a tough match. They both play such a good game. They are so young but good ranking for both. So, will be tough but I'm in the final."

Vinci plays an efficient match

Always known for outstanding net play, Vinci was particular impressive up at net in this match as she went 19/22. She was also particularly clinical on break points, converting three of her four opportunities. Her first serve worked well, winning 64% on both first serves and first serve points won. 

Vinci pleased with her efforts

"It was an incredible match, tough in the beginning with the 3-0 down in the first set," Vinci said after the match. "But I think I play good games, aggressive. "It's always difficult to play against Ana. She plays so flat, so quick. But I'm happy."