Paszek blows Bartoli off course in Eastbourne
Tamira Paszek recovered from a set and 4-0 down on Friday to reach her first final in two years as she beat defending champion Marion Bartoli 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 at wind-blown Eastbourne.
Paszek, ranked 59th and a Wimbledon quarterfinalist last year, had come to the English south coast with a modest 2-13 record this season but turned that on its head with her performances during this pre-Wimbledon week.
"Grass is good for my game, same as hard court," said Paszek, who has family in the town. "I love fast surfaces, I just enjoy the grass."
The challenger held her nerve as French fourth seed Bartoli looked set to run out an easy straight-sets win, but Paszek staged her fight back to reach the fourth final of her career.
She has won two of her previous three - in Slovenia and Quebec - while losing to Swiss Patty Schnyder in Bali four years ago.
Paszek last played for a title in Canada in September, 2010.
The winner said that the windy conditions, with gusts in excess of 60 kph at times, were the worst she had ever played in.
"It was very, very tough, I just had to try to keep moving, keep my focus. I was actually pretty calm, I was surprised. I felt my hands were freezing cold like all through the match.
"I wasn't frustrated with the way it is, the weather was that way. You cannot change Mother Nature. For that reason, I just tried to keep focus on every point."
Bartoli needed a strapping on her thigh when she trailed 2-3 in the final set.
"It was a nightmare to play in these conditions, honestly," said the 0207 Wimbledon finalist.
"My leg got pretty tight and then tired, but I think in two or three days it will be back to normal.
"I felt I had chances in almost every game and ended up losing them. In these conditions, even if I was leading, you never felt comfortable.
"I didn't make one ace today, where yesterday I served 10 or 12. It's really levelling when you have those kind of conditions.
Paszek will next German fifth seed Angelique Kerber, winner of two trophies this season, who beat Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-0, 6-3.
After a Thursday washout on the men's side of the draw, all four ATP quarterfinals were played on Friday. As a result, men's winners were doing double duty at an event which ends on Saturday.