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."
"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."