(Reuters) - Bosnian-born German Andrea Petkovic outlasted rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard in a Family Circle Cup semi-final on Saturday to earn a spot in a WTA final for the eighth time.
"It's funny how destiny plays, but reaching a final of a big tournament here in South Carolina where my father went to college is an honor, and it's nice," Petkovic told The Post and Courier after outlasting Bouchard 1-6 6-3 7-5 in a high-standard match on the green clay at Charleston, South Carolina.
Petkovic, seeded 14th, will meet Jana Cepelova in the final on Sunday, after the unseeded Slovakian edged Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic 6-4 5-7 7-6(7).
It will be the first WTA final for 20-year-old Cepelova, who continued her dream run after knocking out Serena Williams in the second round.
Petkovic, 26, was once ranked among the top 10 in the world but multiple injuries interrupted her career.
Now healthy again, she shed tears of joy after Bouchard blasted a forehand over the baseline to end the match.
The pair could hardly have been more evenly matched, with Petkovic winning 102 points and Bouchard 101 as both players displayed dominating forehands.
Bouchard had the upper hand in the deciding set after breaking in the fifth game and then holding serve to go 4-2 up, but Petkovic quickly broke back to level it.
Petkovic had a match point in the 10th game on Bouchard's serve, but was unable to convert.
It proved, however, merely a stay for crowd-favorite Bouchard, who reached the Australian Open semis in January.
Cepelova and Bencic were also evenly matched, as both players broke five times in a match that stretched for two hours, 33 minutes.
Bencic was up 4-1 in the tiebreak but Cepelova came through in the clutch.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, Editing by Gene Cherry