Pera to face Kontaveit in Hamburg European Open final

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Bernarda Pera’s summer surge continued in style at the Hamburg European Open as the American defeated No.7 seed Maryna Zanevska 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals here on Friday.

The victory puts No.81-ranked Pera, who captured her maiden Hologic WTA Tour title last week in Budapest, into her second final in a row.

The 27-year-old has now won 11 straight matches at all levels, stretching back to Budapest qualifying, and 22 consecutive sets. She will face No.1 seed Anett Kontaveit in the final.

“I’ve been working hard for a long time, and I felt good in practice, and I wasn’t able to execute that in matches,” Pera was quoted as saying in a report on the WTA Tour website.

“Something changed, maybe I relaxed a little bit. One win after another, the confidence grows a little bit, and it changes.”

Confident execution of her powerful serve and forehand has underpinned Pera’s strong form, and she maintained that against Zanevska to strike 23 winners compared to the Belgian’s 14.

Crucially for Pera, she quashed all potential turning points quickly. Up a 4-1 double break in the first set, a dead net cord paved the way for Zanevska to regain one of the breaks. Pera simply smacked another forehand winner to break her opponent in the next game and close out the set with the minimum of fuss.

In the second set, Zanevska began to use her own forehand to take control of more rallies, though was unable to turn the occasional highlight into sustained momentum. The World No.72 battled through a five-deuce hold in the seventh game to keep the deficit to one break, but Pera was unstoppable. She lost just two further points behind her serve, sealing the win with a rapid-fire love hold.

World No.2 Anett Kontaveit will be Pera’s opponent in the final after Kontaveit defeated Anastasia Potapova 6-3, 7-5 in 1 hour and 43 minutes. Kontaveit is now into her 16th career final and seeks her seventh singles title.

“I thought I had to play really good tennis to beat Anastasia today,” Kontaveit said. “I’m very happy with the way I was fighting and trying my hardest for every point.”

Kontaveit and Pera played for the first time just last month in the first round of Wimbledon. Kontaveit won that clash 7-5, 6-1.

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