Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Sara Errani of Italy and Slovakia's Anna Schmiedlova won semifinal matches Saturday and will play for the title at the Rio Open.
Schmiedlova reached a WTA final for the first time in her career after outlasting second-seeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Errani then advanced with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Sweden's Johanna Larsson.
The top-seeded Errani ended a string of five straight lengthy three-set matches in the ATP-WTA clay-court event. Each of the four men's quarterfinals on Friday went the distance, the last ending at 3:21 a.m. local time, and Saturday's opener lasted nearly three hours.
It appeared as though Errani might have to play a third set on Saturday, too. After winning the first set, she dropped the first three games of the second before storming back to win the final six, beating Larsson for the sixth time in as many lifetime meetings.
Errani will play in her 17th career final and will try for her eighth title. Six of her seven career titles have come on clay. She hasn't won a tournament since taking the Acapulco crown two years ago and was 0-2 in finals last year.
It was a rough start to the year for Errani, who lost in the first round of each of the season's first two events in Auckland and Sydney before an early third-round exit at the Australian Open.
Schmiedlova, seeded sixth this week, had never reached a WTA singles semifinal before this run. She will play Errani for the first time on Sunday.
This week's clay court champion will claim $43,000.