Ash Barty celebrated her 25th birthday on Saturday by pulling off her second comeback effort in 24 hours to reach the WTA final in Stuttgart on her debut appearance.

The Australian world No. 1 demoralised fourth seed Elina Svitolina 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2. That fightback came a day after she produced a similar effort over the full distance to get past Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals on the indoor clay.

But it was no party for Barty, who needed more than two hours of struggle – plus some luck as her Czech opponent served for the match leading 5-4 in the second set.

The top seed sayed alive by winning the tiebreaker to level the match and then dominated in the third to escape.

She faces a final against the winner from second seed Simona Halep and Aryna Sabalenka.

The Svitolina series has been a turnaround story for Barty, who lost her first five meetings with the Ukrainian before now winning the last three,including a Miami semi-final just a few weeks ago.

One more victory will make Barty the first No. 1 player to win the trophy in Germany’s automaking capital since Justine Henin in 2007.

Barty sealed the afternoon’s reversal of fortune with 36 winners. Svitolina produced 33 unforced errors to Barety’s 26. The Ukrainian last beat a No. 1 player in Rome, 2018 when she got by Halep.


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