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Slow-burning Ivanovic reaches Birmingham final

(Reuters) - Top seed Ana Ivanovic reached her first final on grass after a convincing 6-2 6-2 victory over ninth seed Zhang Shuai at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England on Saturday.

Former world number one Ivanovic will play Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the final after she upset Australia's number 16 seed Casey Dellacqua 7-6(5) 6-1.

Ivanovic made a slow start against her Chinese opponent, who was taking part in the second grass tournament of her career, and trailed 2-0 after the opening two games.

But the Serb recovered in impressive fashion, putting Zhang on the backfoot as she recorded nine straight games on her way to a 57-minute victory.

"I played myself into the match slowly," Ivanovic said. "I could have served better but I also did a lot of things well and didn't give her many chances, which is important as she's a dangerous player.

"I'm just happy to play here. It's great preparation for Wimbledon and I'm glad to have got so many matches in on the grass."

Czech Strycova recovered from 5-1 down in the first set tie-break against Dellacqua, before comfortably winning the second to reach her fourth WTA final.

(Reporting By Michael Hann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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