EASTBOURNE, United Kingdom – Austrian outsider Tamira Paszek recovered from a set and 4-0 down on Friday to beat French holder Marion Bartoli 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and reach her first final in two years.
Paszek, ranked 59th, 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 grasscourt tournament.
The challenger held her nerve as Bartoli looked set to run out an easy straight-sets result, with Paszek staging 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.
She will next face German fifth seed Angelique Kerber, winner of two trophies this season, and who eased past Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-0, 6-3 in her semi-final clash.
Weather conditions held out on the day at a pre-Wimbledon tune-up which began with three days of sunny, dry weather but which deteriorated on Wednesday when all four men's quarter-finals at the joint ATP-WTA tournament were washed out.
As a result, men's winners on Friday were doing double duty.
Andy Roddick, the sixth-seeded wild card, will be among the final four after the three-time Wimbledon finalist overcame Italian Fabio Fognini 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
The 29-year-old American seeded 30th at Wimbledon, will line up later against Belgian Steve Darcis, who defeated Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).
Italian holder Andreas Seppi advanced in 62 minutes as German Philipp Kohlschreiber retired injured trailing 7-5, 2-1.
Seppi will bid for a trophy repeat when he plays American Ryan Harrison, a winner over Uzbek Denis Istomin 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. – Sapa-AFP