Carla Suárez Navarro recorded a WTA-leading 25th win of the season to progress to her third straight Portugal Open final. Meeting her in the final will be an in-form Svetlana Kuznetsova.
WTA Staff

OEIRAS, Portugal - Carla Suárez Navarro continued her excellent start to the season by defeating qualifier Irina-Camelia Begu to reach the final of the Portugal Open.

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It is the third straight year Suárez Navarro has made it this far in Oeiras, and, after falling to Kaia Kanepi and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on her previous two visits, she will look to make it third time lucky when she takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova in Saturday's final.

The Spaniard has looked in fine form all week, quelling any fitness fears following her retirement against Sara Errani in Stuttgart, and was too strong for Begu, running out a 7-6(3), 6-1 winner.

The only slight wobble came at the end of the first set, when she failed to serve it out at 5-4. However, she soon steadied the ship, taking the set on the tie-break before cruising towards the finish line.

This was the 25th win of the season for Suárez Navarro, who has now won more matches than any other player on tour. Having overtaken Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova's totals of 24 wins, the next milestone on her list is a maiden title, and she enters her meeting with Kuznetsova in a positive frame of mind.

"For me, it's been a very good week and I feel good," Suárez Navarro said. "The most important thing for me is to stay concentrated and focused in all the matches, because on clay there can be many ups and downs in the matches.

"All I know is that I'm feeling good here and I want to play well tomorrow. If I can have a good game, I have a chance and we will see what happens."

Kuznetsova was similarly impressive in her semifinal, brushing aside Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-1, to reach her first final in three years and first final on clay since she won the French Open in 2009.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, Kuznetsova, who knocked out No.2 seed Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals, still feels there is room for improvement.

"I didn't move as well as I did against Bouchard and I will need to improve again for the final," Kuznetsova said. "At the start of the week I was hoping just to build some confidence ahead of Madrid, Rome and obviously the French Open, but now, of course, I am also thinking about the trophy.

"No matter what tournament it is, it's always cool and great to be in the final, and I'm looking forward to it."