Third-seeded Katerina Maleeva defeated Gabriela Sabatini, 6-3, 6-4, Saturday to earn a berth opposite Steffi Graf in the finals of the Canadian Open in Montreal.
The top-seeded Graf beat No. 7 Nathalie Tauziat of France, 6-2, 6-2.
The Maleeva-Sabatini match had plenty of acrobatics and finesse.
“I had nothing to lose, so I went for it,” Maleeva said after her first victory in four career matches against Sabatini.
“Sabatini seems very strong,” the 21-year-old Bulgarian said, “but at the same time, I’ve seen her lose matches because she tires.”
Sabatini had a three-set struggle against Jennifer Capriati Friday night and completed a doubles match about an hour before her singles assignment on Saturday.
Maleeva, who is winless against Graf in six matches, says she will play to Graf’s powerful forehand today.
“If you play to her backhand,” Maleeva said, “she makes you move left, right, left, right until you’re dead.”
Second-seeded Martin Jaite of Argentina beat Canadian Martin Wostenholme, 6-2, 6-1, to reach the finals of the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships at Brookline, Mass.
Jaite will play Czechoslovakia’s Libor Nemecek in the finals today. Nemecek, who had to go through two rounds of qualifying to enter the tournament, defeated Darren Cahill of Australia, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, in the other semifinal.
Jaite won six consecutive games during one stretch, beginning in the fifth game of the opening set.
Czechoslovakia’s Karel Novacek continued a winning streak when he defeated sixth-seeded Horst Skoff of Austria, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, in the semifinals of the Austrian Open at Kitzbuehel.
Novacek, ranked 37th in the world, defeated Boris Becker, 6-3, 6-3, in the quarterfinals.
In the second semifinal, Horacio de la Pena of Argentina defeated Emilio Sanchez of Spain, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).