FILDERSTADT, Germany -- Five-time champion Martina Navratilova dropped only one game in each set and top seed Gabriela Sabatini needed a rally in each set of their semifinal triumphs at the $350,000 Porsche Grand Prix Saturday, setting up a title showdown for Navratilova's 36th birthday.
Navratilova, the third seed who turns 36 Sunday, used her finesse to eliminate No. 2 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario 6-1, 6-1. Sabatini triumphed over fourth seeded Mary Joe Fernandez 7-5, 6-2 after trailing 5-2 in the first set and 2-0 in the second.
Navratilova put the exclamation point on her career-long success against the Spaniard, needing 51 minutes to win for the 11th time in their 12 meetings.
'It all happened so fast, I can't believe it. I have never beaten her so quickly,' Navratilova said after overwhelming the 20-year-old from the start to lead 5-0 after 15 minutes.
Sanchez Vicario held in the sixth to finally get on the scoreboard, but Navratilova held serve in the seventh game to wrap up the set in 23 minutes.
The rout continued in the second set as Navratilova completely dominated at the net and allowed her opponent few successful passing shots.
The American, whose previous titles at Filderstadt came in 1982, 1983 and three in succession from 1986-88, ended the one-sided affair on her first match point with yet another forehand winner.
'I've improved in every match, but still have saved something for tomorrow,' Navratilova said.
Both Sabatini and Fernandez struggled on serve and there were nine breaks in 12 games in the opening set between Sabatini, who won this tournament in 1989, and Fernandez, the 1990 champion.
Fernandez kicked off strongly with an aggressive gameplan, coming in on every possible occasion as she did last month in her upset of Sabatini at the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. She quickly jumped to a 5-2 advantage, allowing Sabatini four points during the Argentinian's first four service games.
However, the 21-year-old from Miami failed to serve out the set at 5- 2 and 5-4 and Sabatini, often a slow starter, found her rhythm and clinched the set on first set point.
In the second set, Fernandez led 2-0 before her backhand once again deserted her.
Sabatini racked up the next six games to triumph on her first match point and clinch her 11th victory over Fernandez in 18 duels in their first meeting since the U.S. Open.