SPORT

Gisela overcomes Sania

Pattaya: A 12-minute first game set the tone for the hard-fought semifinal between India's Sania Mirza and Argentine sixth seed Gisela Dulko at the Pattaya Open on Saturday.

Gisela won the first set after breaking Sania's serve at 4-4 and returned everything the hard-hitting Indian threw at her.

Sania's frustration began to show midway through the second set after she over-hit a series of forehand drives, before committing two double faults at 5-5 to allow the Argentine to break her serve and reach her second tour final.

Keen contest

"I knew it was going to be tough every game was close," Dulko told a news conference.

"I was very focused and I had to be there all the time, 100 per cent, because she hits the ball so hard."

Gisela will meet unseeded Austrian Sybille Bammer who reached the first tour final of her 11-year professional career after beating China's Shuai Peng 6-4, 6-2.

Henin knocked out

In Paris, Lucie Safarova's brilliant run at the $600,000 WTA Paris Open continued when the Czech knocked out top seed Justine Henin 7-6 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final.

In Sunday's final, she will take on Russia's Nadia Petrova, the fourth seed, who edged home favourite Amelie Mauresmo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7).

On Friday, Henin ousted French teenager Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 as she quickly found her best form despite having not played in three months prior to arriving in the French capital.

Henin pulled out of last month's Australian Open due to personal problems surrounding her break-up from husband Pierre-Yves Hardenne.

The results: At Pattaya: Semifinals: Sybille Bammer bt Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2; 6-Gisela Dulko bt 5-Sania Mirza 6-4, 7-5.

At Paris: Semifinals: Lucie Safarova bt Justine Henin 7-6(5), 6-4; Nadia Petrova bt Amelie Mauresmo 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(7).

Quarterfinals: Mauresmo bt 8-Anna Chakvetadze 7-6(5), 7-5; Justine Henin bt Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; Safarova bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4. Agencies