SINGAPORE - Unseeded duo Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson stunned the defending champions and No.2 seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in straight sets to reach the championship match at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
Making their WTA Finals debut both individually and as a team, Bertens and Larsson took down the Russian pairing 6-4, 6-3 in a hard-fought hour and 27 minutes.
“It’s unbelievable, I think we still cannot even believe that we’re in the finals of the WTA Finals, so it’s a great feeling,” Bertens said afterwards. “We’re going to try our best again tomorrow and go out there and enjoy the last match.”
Wimbledon champions Makarova and Vesnina will likely rue their missed opportunities, especially in the first set where they brought up three break point chances but failed to convert on any of them. Bertens and Larsson were chipping away at the Russians with their tricky short angles, and a Makarova double fault finally handed the Dutch-Swedish combo their first break of serve at 4-3.
Bertens’ strong serving earned them the majority of their six combined aces and regularly put them ahead in the rallies leaving Makarova and Vesnina to scramble in defense. After needing just one break of serve to seal the opening set, Bertens and Larsson broke twice more to put away the match in the second.
The Dutch-Swedish pair were the last team to qualify for the WTA Finals, and are looking to add the season-ending championship to their impressive four-title haul this year after lifting trophies in Auckland, Gstaad, Seoul and Linz. They’re in a good position to make it five, as they’re undefeated in finals in 2017.
Standing between Bertens and Larsson and the biggest title of their partnership are the No.3 seeds Timea Babos and Andrea Hlavackova, who earlier in the day stunned the top seeded duo Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan in straight sets to mark the last match of Hingis’ career.
“We played them before and we lost, so we’re underdogs as we’ve been the whole event,” Bertens assessed.
“We’re going to go out with the same energy and just have fun, and when the important moments come and the important points are there, we’ll try our best to be there too and we’ll see if we can make it or not.”