Kontaveit, Pera cruise into Hamburg final

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American Bernarda Pera will play top-seeded Anett Kontaveit in the women's final of the Hamburg Open after they both won their semi-finals in straight sets.

No.81-ranked Pera, who secured her first WTA title in Budapest last week, advanced over seventh-seeded Belgian Maryna Zanevska 6-2 6-4 on Friday.

It was Pera's 11th straight win going back to the Budapest qualifiers after losing her previous five matches.

"I've been working hard for a long time, and I felt good in practice, and I wasn't able to execute that in matches," Pera said.

"Something changed, maybe I relaxed a little bit. One win after another, the confidence grows a little bit, and it changes."

Kontaveit beat Russian-born Anastasia Potapova 6-3 7-5 to reach her 16th career final and her first since February when she lost to Iga Swiatek in Doha.

Estonian world No.2 Kontaveit, who will be bidding for her seventh singles title, defeated Pera in their only previous meeting, 7-5 6-1 in the first round at Wimbledon in June.

"I thought I had to play really good tennis to beat Anastasia today," Kontaveit said.

"I'm very happy with the way I was fighting and trying my hardest for every point."

Kontaveit is the fourth player to reach at least three singles finals this year, joining Swiatek, Ons Jabeur and Veronika Kudermetova.

At the Palermo Open in southern Italy, Irina-Camelia Begu booked her semi-final ticket for the first time in a decade.

The sixth-seeded Romanian ended the run of 19-year-old Frenchwoman Diane Parry 6-1 6-3 on the red clay of the Country Time Club in the Sicilian capital.

Begu will face fourth-seeded Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who defeated Anna Bondar of Hungary 6-2 6-3.

The other semi will feature Italy's Jasmine Paolini and Lucia Bronzetti.

Paolini beat Spain's Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-2 in just over three hours, while it took Bronzetti almost as long to see off Caroline Garcia in the all-French tie, 3-6 7-5 6-3.

With AP.

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