Brisbane: Serbia's Ana Ivanovic battled her way into the final of the Brisbane International on Friday, beating American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6(2) 6-4.
Ivanovic, who came from a set down to win her previous match, once again had to dig deep before seeing off Lepchenko after nearly two hours on the Pat Rafter Arena.
Lepchenko twice served for the opening set but Ivanovic broke back both times then won the tiebreaker.
In the second set, Ivanovic charged to a 5-1 lead before she got the wobbles, allowing Lepchenko to reel off the next three games before she finally sealed the win on her seventh match point.
"Definitely, (my) heart was raising a little bit, especially that it was really becoming a battle," Ivanovic said.
"Even though I was 5-1 up, still felt like a battle all the way through."
Ivanovic's opponent in Saturday's final will be either Russia's Maria Sharapova or Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
Ivanovic will be chasing her 16th WTA career title and her fifth in 12 months after she began her latest resurgence up the world rankings.
Currently ranked seventh, the 27-year-old is looming as one of the favourites for the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on Jan. 19.
A former world number one who won her only grand slam title at the 2008 French Open, Ivanovic credits her return to form to finally learning how to cope with fame.
"I struggled to be in the spotlight. For me, this is something that took time to get used to because I was very shy," she said.
"It was really overwhelming for me and all the pressures. I always play tennis as a game and not all these pressures and expectations.
"I felt like I had no time to go to movies with friends, you know, and this is what every person needs. So I really feel since maybe year and a half I found this balance."