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Zakopalova Powers Into Rio Final

Top seed Klara Zakopalova eased into the final of the Rio Open thanks to a 62 61 win over home hope Teliana Pereira. Meeting her there will be Kurumi Nara.

Published February 22, 2014 12:11

Zakopalova Powers Into Rio Final
Klara Zakopalova

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Klara Zakopalova closed in on her first title in nearly a decade with victory over Teliana Pereira in the semifinals of the Rio Open.

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Since winning in Portoroz in late 2005, Zakopalova has lost five straight finals, with her most recent near miss coming against Garbiñe Muguruza in Hobart this January. But judging by her performances this week, she is intent on ending this drought at the Jockey Club Brasileiro on Sunday.

Seeded No.1, Zakopalova has improved with each passing round, and moved into the final thanks to a dominant 62 61 win over the draw's final remaining Brazilian, Pereira.

"I was expecting a very tough match and it was," Zakopalova said. "The score looks easy but it wasn't. She was fighting so hard to the end so I'm very happy I won in two sets."

Next up for Zakopalova will be No.5 seed Kurumi Nara, who ended the run of qualifier Nastassja Burnett with a 64 36 62 win in Saturday's first semifinal.

"It's always tough to play in a final. Kurumi is a very talented player and she's always improving. I just need to give 100% and then we'll see what happens," Zakopalova added.

A run of four straight games at the start of the third set proved to be the difference between Nara and Burnett, both of whom were bidding to reach a WTA final for the first time.

"I was very nervous in the second set, but when we started the third I just tried to focus on every point," Nara said. "I'm very surprised because it's on clay, and I prefer hard, but I'm very excited because it's my first final."

In the doubles final, Irina-Camelia Begu and María Irigoyen proved too strong for Johanna Larsson and Chanelle Scheepers, running out 62 60 winners.

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