Top-seeded Venus Williams defeated Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 7-5 yesterday to advance to the final of the Japan Open.
Williams will face fifth-seeded Virginie Razzano of France in Saturday's final. Razzano defeated Flavia Pennetta of Italy 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Williams, No. 8 in the WTA rankings, had her hands full with the 17-year-old Wozniacki, who took a 4-2 lead in the second set at Ariake Colosseum.
"Being down 4-2 is not the set," said Williams. "If you win one game, it's pretty much even so I was just concentrating on not making any errors."
With a two-game lead, Wozniacki was hoping to take the set and level the match.
"I was thinking I was closer to winning the set," said Wozniacki. "But Venus played really well, she was making great shots and really raised her game so there wasn't much I could do."
Williams fought back to tie the set 4-4. Wozniacki served to take a 5-4 lead.
Williams appeared to get a break in the next game. With the score tied 30-all, her return looked long but was ruled in, giving Williams a 40-30 lead.
The Wimbledon champion held, then broke Wozniacki to go up 6-5 and served to win the final game.
"That was a very important point," said Wozniacki. "I saw the ball out. It could have been good, I'm not 100 percent sure so I tried not to think about it too much, but that made a big difference."
Williams is playing in the US$175,000 (euro123,000) tournament for the first time and is bidding for her fourth title of the season. She won the Korea Open on Sunday.
"It's been a while since I won two in a row," said Williams. "I'm thinking, can I do this? It's exciting."