Defending champion Yanina Wickmayer survived a scare today to advance to the final of the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland.
The Belgian No 2 seed faced the exit door late in the second set against unseeded Chinese opponent Shuai Peng.
But she rallied for a 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 victory in a fiercely contested battle that lasted two hours and 52 minutes and featured plenty of superb shotmaking by both players.
Peng had put out third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in the second round with a strategy of going for her shots and she adopted the same aggressive approach against Wickmayer.
It took her to 6-5 up in the second set and the chance to serve for the match, but she couldn't convert for what would have been an appearance in a final coinciding with her 25th birthday.
There were still plenty of twists and turns in the deciding set, including Wickmayer being broken when serving for the match at 5-4.
However, Peng dropped her serve in the very next game to hand the initiative back to her opponent.
In the final, Wickmayer will meet either fourth seeded German Julia Goerges or Hungarian Greta Arn, who put out the top seed, Russia's Maria Sharapova, yesterday.