Burnie TAS, Australia, 3 February 2017 | David Packman

Arina Rodionova is a step away from perfecting her Federation Cup preparation after reaching the final of the Caterpillar Burnie International on Friday.

The world No. 186, who heads to Ukraine next week with the Australian team, defeated American second seed Taylor Townsend in a pulsating three-set contest, winning 3-6 6-4 7-6(5).

“She started really aggressive, and I just tried to hang in there and give myself an opportunity,” Rodionova, the No.8 seed, said.

Townsend looked the stronger at the outset, taking the first set comfortably, but Rodionova hit back to level the score and looked to have momentum on her side. While the decider saw the players go toe-to-toe for the most part, the American landed a decisive blow breaking Rodionova to give herself the opportunity to serve for the match at 6-5.

The Australian lifted her intensity to immediately break back but then quickly found herself down 4-2 in the final tiebreaker. Undaunted, she drove for the line, taking five of the next six points to clinch an outstanding victory.

“I’ve had a really good start to the year,” she said. “I came here quite confident about my ability to play.

“I think I’m in good form and I’m happy to be in the final.”

Rodionova, who is gunning for her ninth ITF title after last reaching a final in Lexington in July, will now face another American – No.4 seed Asia Muhammad – after she easily accounted for Czech Marie Bouzkova, 6-2 6-3.

“We’ve played doubles together at the end of last year so I know her game a little bit,” Rodionova said of her upcoming opponent. “She’s a great player obviously and it will be an interesting match.”

Live scores of all Australian Pro Tour events are available through www.tennis.com.au/protour/scores and for a live stream of selected events visit www.tennis.com.au/protour.