Paulus, seeded seventh, was wearing more bandages per square inch than most with both her right elbow and left knee heavily strapped. She surged back strongly after looking to be heading for an early exit after Novotna had dominated a one-sided first set.
Novotna, who scored a 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 victory, now plays either the third- seeded Mary Pierce or fifth-seeded Anke Huber for a place in tomorrow's final.
Pete Sampras continued his quest to solidify his No 1 ranking by surviving a spirited battle with Spain's Jordi Burillo Thursday in the second round of the Sybase Open in San Jose, California.
Sampras fought gamely from the baseline and showed delicate touch at net in his 6-3, 7-6 victory. He is only 300 points ahead of the Czech Petr Korda in the rankings. Korda could draw within striking distance of the Sampras' top spot if he wins Antwerp next week.
Ross Matheson of Glasgow, a wild-card entry, celebrated his best win since rejoining the international circuit recently in the LTA men's tournament at Chigwell yesterday. Matheson overcame a world-ranking difference of over 700 places to beat top seed Martijn Belgraver 7-6, 7-6 in the quarter-finals.