SPORT

Santangelo to meet Shvedova

IMPERIOUS PERFORMANCE: Mara Santangelo made short work of Olga Savchuk, taking just 50 minutes to beat her. Photo: K. Gopinathan  

Nandita Sridhar

Bangalore: Mara Santangelo is not the one to rush to for quick advice. The drawling Italian struggled to coherently account for a 50-minute match a tad quick for someone who takes that much for half a game. She finally managed to drawl out reasons. "I'm surprised. I was very focused and stuck to my gameplan," she said.

Some people do just that and still find themselves clueless on court. But the top-seed showed no signs of struggle on court, as she thrashed Olga Savchuk 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinal of the Sony Ericsson International WTA tennis event, at the KSLTA Stadium. What adds a great amount of insult to the injury is that not once did Savchuk manage to hold serve throughout the match. The only game against her name was when she broke the Italian in the third game of the first set.

Santangelo's negligible backswing is perfectly suited to take balls that come at a good pace. She came in with a clear-cut gameplan of hitting to Savchuk's forehand, which she later said, was her weakness. The pace and the height of the Ukrainian's shots made it easy for Santangelo to flatten her strokes and make her opponent do all the work again. Putting it simply, she made Savchuk do all the sweating while she readied herself for her second final, after winning here last year.

"I really played some good tennis this week and I am very happy to be in the finals. I was more aggressive from the beginning and it really paid off," she said.

Big weapon

Russian Yaroslava Shvedova continued dropping serial backhand bombs like she did against Sania Mirza, to beat Tzipora Obziler 7-5, 6-2 in the semifinal. Obziler broke her in the second game of the match. Despite being broken back, Obziler was up 4-1, after which Shvedova stitched her game together, and unleashed the backhand cross-court rippers and the huge serves.

Things weren't so tough in the second set, with the 33-year old Obziler running out of ideas and energy to deal with the 19-year-old Russian.

"I am really excited. Now that I have made the final, I will not give up easily. I drew the inspiration from Sania's match when I was down 1-4," Shvedova said.

The Russian said she hoped to feed off crowd support. "I am sure that spectators support me. Bangalore has been happy venue for me," she said.

The results: Singles: Semifinals: Mara Santangelo (Ita) beat Olga Savchuk (Ukr) 6-1, 6-0; Yaroslava Shvedova (Rus) beat Tzipora Obziler (Isr) 7-5, 6-2.