Rodionova and Sanders into AO Play-off final
Arina Rodionova beats Belinda Woolcook to reach the AO Play-off final, where she will face Storm Sanders.
Arina Rodionova stormed through the third set of her semifinal against Belinda Woolcock to take her place in Sunday’s Australian Open Play-off final.
Rodionova’s 6-2 4-6 6-2 win over Woolcock sets up a final against Storm Sanders, who beat Abbie Myers 7-6(1) 6-2 in the second semifinal at Melbourne Park.
It is the third time Rodionova has reached the Play-off final; in December 2014 she fell to Daria Gavrilova and in December 2016 Maddison Inglis emerged victorious.
“I’ll just see who’s going to win and take it from there,” Rodionova told reporters as to how she was approaching the final.
“To be honest I don’t really think about it — I just take one match at a time. It’s just a tennis match at the end of the day; win or lose I’m going to compete at the Australian Open, (either) main draw or qualifying.
“That’s everyone’s goal and it’s a great opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Rodionova started strongly against seventh seed Woolcock, who swung the momentum back in her favour in the second set with some crushing forehand blows.
Yet she was more erratic than Rodionova, who seized the initiative in the final set by taking her shots early and having success coming in behind them.
“It’s always nice to have a good, solid finish. I think I worked pretty hard in the third set … really didn’t play my best tennis unfortunately but I’m just glad I could turn it around and get back on track in the third,” she assessed.
“She does hit a decent ball but I don’t think it’s very consistent … that was my game plan basically, I just wanted to make her play one extra shot.”
Sanders is through to the final in just her fourth tournament into a singles comeback after a two-year break.