FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil - It had been almost 12 years since the last all-Spanish final on the WTA - and the drought will continue. Klara Zakopalova battled past Carla Suárez Navarro in the semifinals of the Brasil Tennis Cup, and will next take on her countrywoman, Garbiñe Muguruza, in the final.
In a match where breaks were the norm - 18 of the 26 games were breaks - it was the No.3-seeded Zakopalova who would hold it together better, beating the No.1-seeded Suárez Navarro, 63 36 62.
Zakopalova hit an ace on match point - the only ace for either player the entire match.
"Overall I think I played one of my best matches of the year against Carla today," Zakopalova said. "I just lost to her in Fed Cup three weeks ago and I knew what to expect, and I knew I had to play well."
This is actually Zakopalova's second final in as many weeks - she was a runner-up in Rio last week.
"It's another final for me in two weeks, so it's amazing," the Czech said. "A final is special at every tournament. It's a very good moment of my career now and I'll just try to do my best tomorrow."
Awaiting her in Saturday's final is No.2 seed Muguruza, who put a stop to the run of Yaroslava Shvedova in an hour and 10 minutes, 62 63. Things got a little tricky at the end - she was up 62 51, lost two games and missed her first two match points - but she managed to close out the Kazakhstani.
"I played very, very well today - I played much better than the other days," the Spaniard wrote in her blog on wtatennis.com. "I was much more consistent today and that helped me so much. For sure Slava was tired - she's played a lot of matches, singles and doubles - but I wasn't thinking about that.
"She was playing well today, staying positive and being aggressive."
Zakopalova and Muguruza are tied in their head-to-head series, 1-1, though their last meeting came just last month in the final of Hobart, where Muguruza won handily in straight sets. Also, while Muguruza has a 1-0 record in WTA finals, Zakopalova is 2-12 - needless to say, she's motivated.
"Garbiñe is an incredible player and improving a lot so I really have to play 100%," Zakopalova said.
And for the stats lovers out there, the last time there was an all-Spanish final on the WTA was in Porto, Portugal back in April 2002 - Angeles Montolio beat Magui Serna for the title that week.