Irina-Camelia Begu and Tatjana Maria seal Aegon Southsea Trophy final spots

Irina-Camelia Begu after winning her semi-final. Picture: David Brawn

A BREAK of serve early in the third set helped to ensure Romanian star Irina-Camelia Begu booked her place in the Aegon Southsea Trophy final.

The number one seed for the tournament was in fantastic form after being to able to play her first match on grass.

Tatjana Maria marched on with a fine win. Picture: David Brawn

Two solid performances on the hard courts at Portsmouth Tennis Centre had set her up for the last four match against Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Begu didn’t take long to adjust after racing through the first set 6-1.

Alexandrova is gutsy and strong and she hit back well to level with a 6-3 second set.

But then it was the key time in the match and Begu stepped it up again.

She said: ‘It has been tough conditions, I’ve played solid matches on hard court and this was one it was the first on the grass so I had to adjust, I had to play a little bit.

‘The first set I think she made a lot of mistakes, I was really solid.

‘In the second set I think she had nothing to lose, she went for her shots.

‘Then in the third set I was a bit more aggressive and I was serving a bit better. I was a bit more consistent in the third one.

‘It was one, zero and then it was love 30 from when she was serving.

‘I had so many break points and in the end I made that break point so that was the key of the match.’

Meanwhile, German player Tatjana Maria has looked a class act throughout the event in Portsmouth.

She absolutely relished being on the grass and beat Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-3.

Maria’s play at the net and her volleying was a real delight to see for the big crowd at the fantastic courts at Canoe Lake.

She said: ‘I’m happy. We changed so many times the surface so it is all the time not easy to go back on grass.

‘I’m happy I could win the match in two sets.

‘I think she didn’t like really my style of game.

‘She prefers if people hit and play the same rhythm so I think it was a little bit in my advantage today.

‘It’s my game, I have to put pressure and I have to come to the net, I like to do it so it is part of my game.

‘I love to be on grass, I like to play really on grass, for me it is nice.’

Playing both semi-finals on the grass was a real boost for the tournament after having had to suffer bad weather on Wednesday and then again on Thursday.

The courts were in great shape and the crowd created an excellent atmosphere as they got behind the players.

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