Lucie Safarova saw off Fed Cup teammate Karolina Pliskova in two tight sets on Friday to reach the final of the J&T Banka Prague Open.
Watch live action from Prague & Rabat this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!
Last week in Stuttgart, Pliskova edged out Safarova in three high-quality sets, but Safarova gained revenge in impressive fashion, triumphing 6-4, 7-6(4) in front of a capacity crowd.
"I think it was a very good match in Stuttgart, and it was again today," Safarova said. "I served really well and was playing aggressive. It was still a very close match but I managed to play better in the key moments."
Safarova arrived in the Czech capital without a win to her name in 2016, but has improved with each passing round. Against Pliskova, she upped her level again, jumping out to a 0-40 lead in the opening game before snapping a forehand down the line to break. This early breakthrough proved to be decisive, Safarova doggedly holding onto her advantage to take the set.
Pliskova rallied in the second, building a 4-1 lead as the match looked to be heading to a decider. But with a first final since last August beckoning, Safarova summoned her best tennis to peg back then overtake Pliskova in a blistering tie-break.
"Of course I'm excited to be in my first final this year and even more excited that it's going to be here in Prague. They actually had to close the gates today because it was so crowded [in the stands], and it was great to play in front of such a great crowd."
In the final Safarova will face Samantha Stosur, who profited from top seed Svetlana Kuznetsova's last-minute withdrawal with an abdominal injury.
"It's always nice to be in a final however you get there," Stosur said. "I was ready to play and unfortunately Svetlana's injured and can't play. It's unfortunate for her, but I'll take the easy day and go and watch the girls play in the other semifinal."