In semi final play at the Moorilla Hobart International on Friday, the up and coming German Mona Barthel, the only seeded player remaining in the tournament, took on Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium to battle for a place in the final. The 9th seed is the reigning champion in Hobart, but she had a real struggle with the unconventional and very watchable play of the Belgian. In the first set Barthel was able to break the Belgian when she was serving at 4-5, to edge her opponent 6-4. The second set was just as difficult, as both players were able to break each other in the early games, but once again Barthel managed to break her opponent at 4-5 to take the set 6-4 and move into the final for the second year in a row.
Elena Vesnina is on a roll and playing some of her best tennis at the beginning of the 2013 season. She had a relatively easy run to the semis, as she did not face a seeded player, but her opponent there was the tournament’s 8th seed Sloane Stephens, the up and coming American player. Undaunted by Stephens’ higher ranking, Vesnina raced out of the blocks playing some fine tennis to take the first set 6-2. In the second set, the story was much the same, as she continued to serve well and dominate in the break point department, taking 10 out of 16 opportunities to Stephens’ 6 out of 16, to take game, set and match 6-2 6-2 in an hour and ten minutes.
Vesnina won the only other time she played against Barthel, who she will meet in the final.