WTA Auckland Classic: Venus Williams enjoys walkover as Ana Ivanovic is made to work
Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic will face-off to decide the Auckland Classic after contrasting routes to the final.
Last Updated: 03/01/14 1:25pm
Williams didn't even have to take to the court for her scheduled semi-final against Jamie Hampton, the fifth seed being forced to withdraw after suffering a hip injury in practice.
The walkover means the 33-year-old American will be fresh to face the Serbian, with Hampton not willing to risk her fitness ahead of the upcoming Australian Open.
Ivanovic did actually have to pick up a racquet to progress, holding off a second-set fightback from third seed Kirsten Flipkens to record a 6-0 7-6 (7/3) triumph.
The 26-year-old stormed through the first set in 21 minutes before grinding through the next, keeping her on course for her first WTA title since winning in Bali at the end of 2011.
Williams herself has not lifted a trophy since Luxembourg in September 2012, meaning there is much riding on the battle between two former world number ones in Auckland.
"We all know what Venus is capable of, and she's been showing some good form this week too," said Ivanovic, who has won just once in the pair's previous nine meetings.
"I've struggled with both Serena and Venus in the past. They both have a big serve, and it can be overwhelming at times.
"But over the years you get used to it and become more calm. There's no doubt it'll be a very, very tough match, but it's a matter of still doing the things I've worked on."
"We've had some tough matches in the past and I'm really looking forward to that final challenge."