A very happy Bartoli said afterwards, “I played a long match with Anabel in Rome last week … so definitely for me to win, 6-1, 6-2, today is very pleasing, especially on clay and the way I play, aiming to hit a lot of winners, and it worked today.”
Tomorrow's Final is only Bartoli's second clay court final on Tour and by far her best clay court result of the season. “I have made some progress since the beginning of the year; I didn't think I was playing that well during the hard court season, and transferring to clay I didn't start well and my timing was off, and I really wasn't feeling my shots like I did on the hard court. And I wasn't able to penetrate, hit the ball hard and play some winners. It was very important for me to work on my groundstrokes and regain this power, so it is very good to be able to do it here in Strasbourg and realize, with Roland Garros three days away, it's perfect timing. It is a shame I wasn't able to do it before, but better late than never!”
This will also be Bartoli’s first singles final on French soil. She told PTN that playing at home is not about extra pressure. “To play in front of home support is a real motivation, a bit of pressure but much more motivation. When I play outside of France against a player from the home country, she usually has the full support of the crowd behind her and I'm thinking, 'I want to be in France with [the] crowd cheering for me.'
“But I think that in some tough situations it's very important to have the crowd behind you, pushing you, and you find another gear. You don't think you have it in your body but the crowd helps you find that spot to push yourself harder. Tomorrow is the Final, so it is a very special day and hopefully I will be able to play the same way.”
Andrea Petkovic, the No. 2 seed here, and 6th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova faced off in the second Semifinal. Hantuchova continued her great form from yesterday's quarterfinal match against Nadia Petrova and quickly found herself up, 4-2. She even had a break point chance for 5-2, but missed a backhand return. The error proved to be crucial. Suddenly it was Petkovic who dominated from the baseline, and the German's excellent returns helped her to get the break back for 4-4. Down 4-5, Hantuchova hit her first double fault of the match to give Petkovic set point. Again it was Petkovic who seized control. When Hantuchova's defensive shot fell short, Petkovic took the set with a forehand winner.
Hantuchova, who said afterwards that she felt she should have won the first set, was determined to right the ship in the second. Again, she got the early break, but this time managed to secure the insurance of a second break as well.
A greater shock for Petkovic than the score disadvantage, however, came in the fourth game of the set, when she slipped and fell while trying to run down a drop-shot. Fortunately, it was simply a scare, as she assured the media afterwards, and Petkovic was able to continue the match after a few minutes. She quickly looked to get back into the second set and recaptured one break from Hantuchova. Now down 3-4, Petkovic again found herself with triple break point on Hantuchova’s serve. But this time around, Hantuchova’s shots found the lines and she held. In the next game, the Slovak took the set on a double fault from Petkovic.
While the first two sets had been of great quality, the third started even better. Both players were eager to stay aggressive and take control of the rallies. Petkovic won all three of the very long opening games, before Hantuchova requested an injury timeout for treatment on her neck. When play resumed, Hantuchova broke back with a lucky net cord, but Petkovic was able to maintain the advantage of the second break. After 2 hours and 42 minutes, the German was through to the Final, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Asked to analyze the match, she told PTN, “It was a really tough, long match and I think a really good match as well. Daniela played so well, she put so much pressure on me. I was all the time just trying to stay in the match, trying to bring her bombs back [that] she was throwing at me. At one point, she just threw the whole kitchen sink at me and I just tried to defend myself, but I think the most important thing was that I stayed calm and that I waited for my chances.”