Anastasia Potapova and Margarita Gasparyan will fight in the first all-Russian WTA final since 2017 Indian Wells, at the Tashkent Open. 17-year-old qualifier Potapova dispatched Kateryna Kozlova 6-2 6-3 in 56 minutes. Gasparyan had to complete her third comeback win of the season to outlast the German Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to reach her first WTA final since her title-winning run in Baku in 2015.
Potapova, who won 8 of the last 10 matches, beat her compatriot in their lone previous meeting at $100,000 ITF event in Khimki. Potapova, playing her second semifinal after her runner-up showing at Moscow River Open earlier this year, will move into the Top 100 alongside Olga Danilovic, who beat her in that title-match, two weeks after Anisimova became the first 2001-born player into this elite group.
The Russian teenager completed the match with 23 winners to 14 and fired four fewer unforced errors, 14 to 18, ending the match with one final forehand winner. "It's an amazing feeling. The days I’m spending here have surely helped me to improve my game and my confidence," Potapova said.
"I got up early today and was waiting to go I wanted to win badly today, I felt very confident from the beginning. I was as a little shaky midway but managed to get past". Gasparyan lost her serve for the first time in the final game of the first set as Barthel won 100% of first serve points.
"It feels great to have good results after struggling for the past six months" had said Barthel after her upset win over the No.2 seed Vera Lapko. The German, who previously played two tough three-set matches in two days, likes "the atmosphere and the conditions here.
I like the tournament, it's my first time here, the city is beautiful and people are great, and look to play semifinals and spend some more days here". The German, who would say to younger players to be true to themselves, "set goals, have a game plan, work every single day", was immediately made to pay for her 14 unforced errors in the second set.
Gasparyan kept the momentum in the decider, punching a volley winner to complete the first break at 3-1, but missed the first chance to serve out the match at 5-4. Later, she closed out the victory with a backhand crosscourt winner and is now assured to climb back into the Top 200, projected at No.174.
"It's a very special moment for me coming out of my injury and reaching the final after 2 years," said Gasparyan, "I'm looking forward to the finals. It will be an interesting match. I played well in the second set and midway till the third set I think I rushed too much to finish the match, but Mona really came back well and put pressure on me especially when she lead 5-4 on serve, but I guess I made most of her mistakes and very happy to have made the final. It was very important for me," said the 24 year Russian who could rise to No.136 winning the title.