Giant-killer Barthel in final
AAP Friday 13 January 2012 Be the first to comment »
German qualifier Mona Barthel has continued on her giant-killing way, reaching the final of the Moorilla Hobart International with victory over fourth-seeded compatriot Angelique Kerber.
Barthel knocked off a seeded player for the third time in the tournament in downing world No.31 Kerber 6-0 7-6(6) in their semifinal.
The 21-year-old, who is at a career-high No.64, had already beaten second seed Anabel Medina Garrigues and fifth seeded Australian Jarmila Gajdosova on the way to her first WTA final.
She will meet the winner of Friday night’s second semifinal between top seed Yanina Wickmayer and sixth seed Shahar Peer.
US Open semifinalist Kerber entered Friday’s match under an injury cloud after hurting her wrist in her quarterfinal win over Sorana Cirstea.
But it was Barthel’s solid ground strokes and calm demeanour that gave her the edge.
She flew through the first set in less than 20 minutes before Kerber rallied to go up 3-0 in the second.
Kerber served for the second at 5-4 but could not convert two set points and Barthel won the crucial game chasing down a superb drop shot and passing her opponent brilliantly.
Kerber led the tiebreaker 3-0 but Barthel fought back to 5-5.
She fell behind 6-5 before two consecutive mini-breaks set up match point on Barthel’s serve and she converted.
Barthel was ranked 208 at the end of 2010 but is now one of the form players of the summer as she eyes a first Australian Open campaign.
She has drawn British world No.75 Anne Keothavong in the first round of the grand slam tournament.