Venus Williams beat Roberta Vinci in a closely fought three set match, settling a score on behalf of her sister Serena, to reach the Wuhan Open finals.
Struggling with what appeared to be a left glute injury, the American allowed a 5-2 lead to slip in the third set.
US Open runner-up Vinci had match point, 40-30 at 6-5, but Williams clung on, broke back and took the match to a tie-break.
She played through the pain to win 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and 43 minutes.
“Oh wow, I’m so excited to play the final!” Williams told the official WTA website. “That was my dream when I came to this tournament, to play the final and have a chance for the title here in Wuhan.
“Roberta played so well today – she had match point – so it was lucky for me to win this match.”
She will now challenge Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza for the trophy.
The Spaniard, beaten by Venus’ sister Serena at the All England Club this summer, was given a stern examination by sixth seed Angelique Kerber but held her nerve to defeat the German 6-4 7-6 (7-5).