Margarita Gasparyan and Daria Kasatkina will face each other in the title match at the St. Petersburg Open on Sunday. Their derby will be the 30th time that a tournament final will be contested between two Russians. Earlier, in the semi-finals, both players came through what were the first-of-their-kind, all-Russian matches.
In the first semi-final – a battle of wildcards – Gasparyan defeated Vera Zvonareva in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(9). Gasparyan, who had won the duo’s only previous meeting in the qualifying stages at the same event, made her mark early on in the match as she went ahead in the match by winning the first set in regulation time.
In the second set, Zvonareva made two comebacks to take the set into the tie-break. The former world no. 2 had four set points in the tie-break but her errors coupled with Gasparyan’s pinpoint shot-making erased them all.
And although the match was extended by a few more moments when Gasparyan was unable to convert her first match point, it didn’t last long enough for the third set as the 26-year-old claimed the win on her second match point.
This is the first time Gasparyan has reached the final of a WTA 500 event.
St. Petersburg Open: Daria Kasatkina's confident run
The other semi-final played out quite differently with the eighth-seeded Kasatkina claiming her second straight comeback win, this time against the fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova – 1-6, 6-0, 6-2.
After dropping the opening set to the two-time Major champion, Kasatkina regrouped in a brisk fashion and put her opponent through the paces for the rest of the match. The world no. 61 won eight games on the trot to first take the second set and then post a 2-0 lead in the decider.
Although Kuznetsova held serve twice in the decider, it wasn’t enough as the second break of Kuznetsova’s serve in the seventh game of the set allowed Kasatkina to easily serve out the match in the following game.
The St. Petersburg Open final between Margarita Gasparyan and Daria Kasatkina will be the first meeting between the two players.