Roberta Vinci survived a scare from Timea Babos of Hungary to reach the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semi-finals on Friday. (Read More in Tennis)
Vinci broke Babos when the latter was serving for the match in the deciding set, and bounced back from 4-2 down in the tiebreak to win 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4).
Vinci struggled throughout the first and second sets, landing fewer than half of her first serves.
"She served so good, but today I played so-so. Especially at the beginning, I was so tight, so nervous," Vinci said in televised comments. "I stayed focused and I won a great match," she added.
The second-seeded Vinci meets fourth-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals after the Serb beat Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 6-1, 7-5. Ivanovic limited Kozlova to just 10 points in the whole of a rapid first set but faced a tougher task when Kozlova broke her serve twice in the second.
"She is a great young player, and in the second set she started to play more powerful," Ivanovic said.
"I tried to step up a bit, be more aggressive, hold my court position, and it worked well," she added.