CARLSBAD, California, July 21 (Reuters) - Top seed Marion Bartoli won her third successive three-setter when she overcame Chan Yung-jan 1-6 6-3 6-3 to reach the final of the Carlsbad Open on Saturday.
The Frenchwoman will face second seed Dominika Cibulkova in the final after the Slovakian beat Nadia Petrova of Russia 7-6 6-1 in the other semi-final.
After being bullied by Taiwanese qualifier Chan in the opening set, Bartoli hit back in the second set after fixing her serve and shaking off the effects of a sore ankle.
She took control in the decider, stepping inside the baseline and finding the corners with some stinging returns and groundstrokes, wrapping up victory in two hours, 16 minutes.
“I started to hit harder and gave myself a bit more room to return serve,” Bartoli told reporters.
”When I broke her at the beginning of the second set she wasn’t as confident and I started to serve better.
“I stayed really focused and positive and also my mental toughness helped me to go through.”
While Bartoli has been pushed to the wall in her matches under the Californian sun, Cibulkova has not dropped a set in three matches.
The fleet-footed Slovakian forced a first-set tiebreak and took it 10-8 on a forehand crosscourt winner, and a deflated Petrova immediately called for a trainer for the heat.
The treatment failed to help as Cibulkova rolled through the second set before taking a dig at her Russian opponent.
”This is usual on the women’s tour,“ the 23-year-old Cibulkova said. ”There is a lot of calling for the trainers, and you never know if it’s real or if it’s a tactic.
”Sometimes it’s not easy for your mental (state) when you see her down and complaining and not playing.
“I was trying to not pay attention to her, and I saw in the last game of the match that she was running normal, so it was good that I didn’t pay attention to her.” (Editing by Alastair Himmer)