Vesnina to face Barthel for Hobart title

9:02 AM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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Hobart, Australia (Sports Network) - Elena Vesnina needed just 69 minutes to get past eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens in the first semifinal of the Hobart International on Friday.

Vesnina broke the American's serve five times in a 6-2, 6-2 rout and will next play Germany's Mona Barthel, who will try for her second straight title in Hobart after a 6-4, 6-4 win over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens in the second semifinal.

Barthel captured her lone WTA title at this Australian Open tune-up last year. She was a semifinalist last week in Auckland, falling to Yanina Wickmayer.

The ninth seed traded breaks in the first two games with Flipkens on Friday, then closed out the first set with another break. The second set followed a similar pattern with a trade of early breaks and a Barthel break to finish the match.

Vesnina's lopsided win gave her a match record of 6-1 this year, with her lone loss coming last week in the Auckland quarterfinals against Agnieszka Radwanska, who went on to win that event and on Friday also won the Sydney tournament.

The 26-year-old Russian will carry a finals record of 0-6 into Saturday's title match. She won the lone previous matchup against Barthel, dominating in a 6-1, 6-1 first-round triumph last September at the China Open.

The Sports Network

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