Mertens to meet Sabalenka in Lugano final
Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka will battle it out for the Ladies Open Lugano title after both came through quarter- and semi-final ties on Saturday.
After inclement weather affected earlier rounds, there was a backlog to get through on the penultimate day in Switzerland and it was Mertens and Sabalenka who were able to last the distance.
Mertens is seeking her third WTA crown and a first on clay after successive Hobart International victories, while Sabalenka is yet to break her tour duck, her only previous final appearance ending in defeat to Maria Sharapova at the Tianjin Open last year.
Second seed Mertens came through 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-0) to see off Mona Barthel in the last eight, before dispatching Vera Lapko, again in three sets, 6-1 4-6 6-4.
Lapko had earlier ousted Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in her quarter-final.
Sabalenka may feel a good deal fresher than her opponent when it comes to Sunday's showdown, after she enjoyed respective 6-3 6-0 and 6-4 6-2 wins over Camila Giorgi and then Stefanie Voegele, who had prevailed 6-4 6-3 against Tamara Korpatsch in the last eight.