Francesca Schiavone, Lourdes Dominguez Lino in Grand Prix SAR final
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) - Francesca Schiavone beat South African Chanelle Scheepers 7-6 (4), 6-1 to set up a Grand Prix SAR final against Lourdes Dominguez Lino, who overcame a slow start to beat Luxembourg's Mandy Minella 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 on Saturday.
Schiavone broke Scheepers' serve three times in the second set, where the sixth-seeded Italian saved two break points on her own serve.
Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion now ranked 48th, is through to her first final of the year and goes for her sixth title and first since winning the Strasbourg Open in May last year.
"It's been a long time since I've been to a final, so I'm really happy," said Schiavone, who has not dropped a set this week. "It's good to get this far again. I have one more step to go, so I want to take advantage of this chance and leave everything on the court."
She leads Dominguez Lino 3-1 in head-to-head meetings. The 32-year-old veterans first played each other 15 years ago on clay at Spoleto in Italy, where the Spaniard beat Schiavone for the only time.
Dominguez Lino, who secured three consecutive breaks in the deciding set, goes for her third title and her first since winning at Bogota, Colombia in February 2011, when she also beat Minella on her way to the title.
Minella broke Dominguez Lino's serve three times in the first set, but the Spaniard saved six break points and broke Minella's serve three times in the second set.
"It was a tough match because she started off playing well and I was a little bit tired from yesterday," Dominguez Lino said. "But I think mentally I was stronger in the end, and that was the difference. I'm so happy I won."