World number one Iga Swiatek said she was “born to fight” after battling past Liudmila Samsonova on Saturday to seal a 22nd consecutive win and book her place in the Stuttgart final.
After just over three hours, Swiatek converted her first match point having broken Samsonova’s service three times in the final set to claim a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5 win.
It was an impressive fightback by the 20-year-old who punched the air in delight after winning the final point.
“I honestly hate losing and you just don’t want to give up. Players like me are born to fight,” said an elated Swiatek who has now reached four finals in succession having won titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
On Sunday, she faces Aryna Sabalenka, who earlier reached the final for the second year running with a straight sets win over Paula Badosa.
“There isn’t much time to recover, but physically I am ready, so I am just going to go for it,” Swiatek said.
Sabalenka came out on top of a hard-fought battle for the first set, then turned up the pressure in the second to seal a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory.
“It was a tough match and she is the toughest opponent,” said Sabalenka.
“I tried to just stay in the first set and get the break back,” she added, referring to the opening set which was eventually settled by a tie breaker.
“I am super happy with the result.”
Sabalenka responded to having her service broken at the start of the second set by returning the compliment.
Badosa then faded as the set progressed, serving a double fault to hand Sabalenka victory on her first match point.
Badosa has the consolation that she will move up to second in the world rankings on Monday.