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Top seed Radwanska to face Wickmayer in Auckland final

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska hits a return to Serena Williams of the U.S. during their semifinals WTA tennis championships match in Istanbul
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska hits a return to Serena Williams of the U.S. during their semifinals WTA tennis championships match in Istanbul

(Reuters) - Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska overcame blustery conditions and a dogged Jamie Hampton in the semi-finals of the Auckland Classic on Friday to set up a title clash against Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

The Polish world number four had to dig deep in the year's first tournament to edge out the 70th-ranked American 7-6 7-6.

"I've never been in a final in my first tournament of the year, so it's a good start, and I'm going to do everything in my power to win that match tomorrow," Radwanska, who is yet to drop a set at the tournament, told reporters.

"Winning a title is a great thing, especially at a tournament I haven't played before."

Third seed Wickmayer reached her third Auckland final in four years after winning a final set tiebreak against eighth-seeded German Mona Barthel.

The 2010 champion and runner-up a year later won 6-4 1-6 7-6 after struggling against Barthel's serve in the windy conditions.

"It was really tough to get a rhythm on her serve - it's really tough to read, and when she served a bit slower the wind was taking it," the Belgian said of the Barthel serve, which produced 12 aces.

"I managed to stay mentally strong in the tiebreak - I'm really happy with the way I handled that pressure."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)

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