Sunday, March 6, 2011
Safarova and Dokic to battle in Malaysian final.
"I tried to really neutralize her serve and really move her around the court and dictate, because I don't think she likes that," said world No.91 Dokic, who hit 15 winners to Krajicek's seven, and made 16 unforced errors against 27 from the Dutchwoman. "I think I did it well."
Although Dokic got a stranglehold on the match with mirror-image breaks for 2-1 in both sets, 150th-ranked Krajicek did have a chance to stem the tide midway through the second set. However, when presented with her first break point at 3-2 the 22-year-old Dutchwoman failed to control a deep second serve by Dokic, who duly held for 4-2 and didn't look back.
"It's a good feeling to be in a final again," said 27-year-old Dokic, who is through to her first final since Zürich in 2003 and on Sunday will be gunning for her first title since Birmingham in 2002. "I was nearly out of this tournament near the beginning twice and fought my way back somehow.
"No matter what happens tomorrow, I've been playing better and better," she added. "Today I was very on top of things - I'm very happy with my form. It's been a great start to the year for me."
For Safarova, things were altogether more complicated, even though the 24-year-old appeared to be cruising after a dominant first set display.
But then Groth changed gears, bustling Safarova into error for an early break in the second set, and despite failing to convert two chances for another break to take the set at 5-2, calmly leveling proceedings in her next service game.
"Jarka really upped her game in the second set - she really pushed me," Safarova agreed. "The only way for me to get out of that was to try to overpower her more, and with that came some mistakes. But then I tried again to be more patient and wait for the opportunity - and it came."
Indeed, although Groth seemed to carry the momentum into the decider, breaking Safarova on a double fault for 3-2, Safarova broke right back for 3-3 and thereafter didn't lose another game. Having fended off two break points to hold for 4-3, she broke Groth again for 5-3; the Czech lefty faced another four break points when serving for the match, but was helped over the line by her opponent's errors.