MOSCOW, Russia - Daria Kasatkina is just one match away from her second WTA title of her career after defeating Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.
The 20-year-old WTA World No. 28 had the historical edge between these two unseeded players heading into the semifinal encounter, having won four of their five previous meetings, including all of their last three, yet as the pair exchanged early breaks there was more than a hint she would not have things all her own way.
However, the fifth game of the match proved to be a watershed moment as the Romanian was broken. It was a mammoth affair, lasting nearly 10 minutes and was claimed by Kasatkina on her fifth attempt. Having made the breakthrough, she accelerated away to claim four successive games and with them the first set in 41 minutes.
Begu, 27, endured several minutes of treatment on her right shoulder during the break between sets. It seemed to have made little difference as she was immediately broken, yet this became the start of a run that saw four successive games won by the returner.
Although Begu was the first to hold serve, it was to be only temporary relief. When Kasatkina broke to love in the seventh game, it proved the decisive blow as she saw the match out 6-3, taking serve off her opponent in the final game to secure the win.
Kastakina will now face either seventh seed Julia Goerges or WTA World No. 67 Natalia Vikhlyantseva as she pursues her first title since winning the Volvo Car Open in Charleston back in April.