Safina sets up Williams final
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:16
The third seed took one hour 46 minutes to defeat her fellow Russian 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in their semi-final match to set up a clash with three-time former champion Serena Williams on Saturday.
Safina, who reached the final of the French Open last year before going down to Ana Ivanovic, looked very composed in her first last-four appearance at Melbourne Park and pounded her opponent from the baseline with punishing forehands and ripping backhand ground strokes.
The ever-aggressive third seed constantly went for her shots hitting 28 winners but also 42 unforced errors.
It mattered little in the end, as Zvonereva managed just 13 winners and had few answers to her powerful compatriot.
Safina was on the front foot from the opening game as Zvonareva, making her grand slam semi-final debut, dropped her serve.
But the seventh seed broke back in the fourth to level 2-2 and it went with serve until the seventh game when a rifled cross-court winner by Safina earned her the break.
The second set went with serve until the fifth game but both players were forced to come from behind to hold as the games became a little longer and the error count began to creep up.
Safina staved off a break point and a couple of deuces to keep the set on serve but could not make a superb cross-court winner that dipped late just inside the line count in the next game, when she squandered a chance of a break by finding the net or firing long.
Safina began that with an ace on her second serve and although her opponent rallied back from 3-1 down to square things, two wayward returns put Zvonereva 6-4 down and the third seed sealed her place in the final with yet another pin-point accurate cross-court forehand.