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Kudermetova, Kovinic eye maiden WTA title


Veronikia Kudermetova of Russia and Danka Kovinic of Montenegro will do battle for their first WTA title in the final of the Charleston Open.

Kudermetova, the 15th seed, rolled past Spain’s Paula Badosa 6-3 6-3, continuing a run at the year’s opening clay-court tournament where she hadn’t lost a set in four matches this week.

Kovinic upset 12th-seeded Ons Jabeur 6-3 6-2.

Kudermetova, 23, reached the final of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open in January, losing to Aryna Sabalenka.

Kudermetova said she’ll try not to think much about that defeat three months ago.

“I’d just like to try and work and play the final here and have fun,” she said.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere here.”

Badosa, who ousted top-ranked Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals, battled hard early in the second set but a 12-minute game in which Kudermetova saved two break points to pull ahead 3-2 proved decisive.

She won four of the final five games.

Kovinic, unseeded and ranked 91st in the world, defeated her third seeded opponent in Jabeur to make the final.

She topped Petra Kvitova on Thursday, then dropped the opening set against Yulia Putintseva in the quarter-finals before rallying to victory.

Kovinic was tied with Jabeur at 3-3 in the opening set, then won seven straight games to take control.

It is Kovinic’s first finals’ appearance in a WTA tournament since a clay-court event in Instanbul in 2016.

Kovinic, 26, had no illusions that would change when the week began.

“To be honest, I didn’t feel 100 per cent confident” entering this tournament, she said.

“Match by match, my game improved and my confidence raised a little bit and everything came together.

“I’m in the final right now.”

Kudermetova and Kovinic have met just once previously, the Russian taking a qualifying round match for the Shenzhen Open in China in December 2018.

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