MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova reached her first-ever WTA (Women's Tennis Association) singles final after she defeated on Tuesday Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the semifinals of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open tournament.
In a match that lasted 1 hour and 43 minutes, the 23-year-old Russian defeated her 18-year-old opponent in straight sets 7-6 (10-8); 6-4. Kudermetova reached the semifinals after knocking out from the tournament on Monday World’s No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 5-7; 6-3; 7-6 (7-3).
"I think it was a really tough match today," the tournament’s official website quoted Kudermetova as saying after her win. "I think we were a little bit nervous. It was really tough, but I tried to be focused until the end."
"I think I have a little bit more experience than Marta," Kudermetova told a news conference. "She’s really young, she’s 18. Today, I think it was the key, [that] I really have a little bit more experience than her."
Kudermetova is currently No. 46 in the WTA Rankings and her best result at the Grand Slam tournaments was reaching Round 3 of the 2019 French Open.
The Russian tennis player is now set to meet in the final Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who is ranked as World’s No. 10 by the WTA. Earlier in the day, Sabalenka breezed past Greek player Maria Sakkari with straight sets win of 6-3; 6-2 in the other semifinal match.
Kudermetova and Sabalenka previously played against each other only once back in 2015, with the Belarusian tennis player winning the match.
Speaking about her upcoming clash with the World’s No. 10, Kudermetova told a news conference on Tuesday that it will be "a really interesting and fun match tomorrow."
"From my side, I don’t have expectations for tomorrow, because Aryna, she is a Top 10 player, she plays unbelievable, she’s played really good here," she said. "I think she’ll have a little bit more pressure than me because she’s supposed to win tomorrow."
"She’s stayed Top 10, she’s already won two tournaments in a row. Tomorrow, I’ll play free, I’ll try to play relaxed and try to enjoy my final," Kudermetova added.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Women's Tennis Open is the first WTA tournament this year. It is played on outdoor hard courts between January 6 and 13 at the Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi. The tournament offers $565,530 in prize money.