Sania Mirza will have to beat world number five and top seed Russian Vera Zvonareva to claim the second WTA singles title of her career as the two players set up the summit clash in the USD 220,00 Pattaya Open on Saturday.
Sania edged past world number 51 Magdalena Rybarikova in the first semi-final 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 today while Zvonareva beat Shahar Peer of Israel 6-1, 6-4 in the other last-four clash.
The unseeded Indian, ranked 126th in WTA charts, faced a tough challenge from her eighth seeded Slovakian opponent but eventually came out triumphant in a two-hour long contest.
The last time Sania reached the singles final of a WTA event was in 2007 in the Stanford classic.
This is the fourth time in her career that Sania has reached the singles final of a WTA tour event.
She had become the first Indian player to win a WTA title when she won the Hyderabad Open in 2005. In the same year, she had reached the final of the Forest Hill event in United States.
Sania could have finished her semi-final against Rybarikova in the second set when she was serving for the match at 5-4 but dropped her serve, allowing the issue to be stretched to the third set.
"I missed a couple of easy points and lost the second set. It happens," Sania said after the match.
About the final against Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Zvonareva, Sania said, "I'm not going to think about who I'm playing in the final, I just want to play my game," she said.
Sania broke Rybarikova in the fourth game of the deciding third set to give herself a 3-1 lead. She converted first of the three breakpoints, which she earned after the Slovakian double faulted.
Sania consolidated the lead after holding her serve in the next game before breaking Rybarikova to make it 5-1.
The Indian then served out the match, converting her third match point.
Sania goes down in doubles
Sania did not have a good time later in the day as she along with her partner Mara Santangelo of Italy lost her doubles semi-final match 6-2, 2-6, 7-10 against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand.