Flipkens defeats Barthel to reach Quebec final

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Kirsten Flipkens will play for the 2012 Challenge Bell trophy after a successful two-set battle against Mona Barthel in the semifinal of Quebec.

26-year-old Flipkens has found herself on a doorstep of her greatest success as a professional tennis player. She is one win away from taking her first WTA title. Will Quebec become her lucky place?

The Belgian and third-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany have met for the first time in the semifinal of 2012 Challenge Bell. Barthel needed five break points to take Flipkens’s serve in the sixth game of the opener, but her effort was nullified as she could not confirm the break. She was then on the verge of being broken at 4-4, yet the set was not decided before the tie-break. The thirteenth game was no less dramatic as the German had one mini-break advantage at 4-3, but even that could not throw Flipkens out of balance. One final turnaround and two set points later 102th-ranked Belgian was leading one set to love.

Things were going from bad to worse for Barthel. She lost a serve in the fourth game of the second set, broke back straight away, but was on the back foot again as Flipkens achieved a new break. The Belgian served for the set at 5-3, yet there was enough fighting spirit left in Barthel to level the score and to force another tiebreaker. Flipkens, however, was too close to Quebec final to let the victory slip out of her hands. She was dominant throughout the breaker and converted her first match ball for a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) triumph.

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