JURMALA, Latvia - Top seed Anastasija Sevastova and Cinderella qualifier Katarzyna Kawa will square off to be crowned the first-ever Baltic Open champion.
On semifinal Saturday, the Latvian No.1 downed Russian teenager and No.6 seed Anastasia Potapova, 6-4, 6-2, to book her spot in Sunday's final opposite Kawa, a 26-year-old from Poland who is having a dream week on the Latvian coast in her WTA main draw debut.
The World No.11 largely proved too strong for her relatively inexperienced opponent, who was contesting only her fourth career WTA semifinal, but came into the match having beaten Sevastova in their lone previous meeting at the J&T Banka Prague Open last year.
Sevastova broke the teenager twice in the opening set and three times in the second set, as she built 5-2 leads in both sets, but needed a second opportunity to serve out the first set.
"It's hard to describe how amazing it is to play at home," Sevastova said. "I was confident until the end and was playing pretty well.
"She is a dangerous player and I am happy that match was over in two sets. I think I played better today against her [than in Prague]. I mean she’s a tough opponent, she’s getting better and better. I played my game and didn’t let her play her game.
"To reach the final at this tournament, for sure, is special. And for tomorrow I hope the stands will be full and I'll feel absolute support. It’s amazing playing here, amazing venue, amazing tournament [considering] it’s the first time here – they do everything so well – so it’s special to play here."
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Having never before contested a final above the $25,000 level on the ITF World Tennus Tour, Kawa qualified this week at the WTA International event and has not dropped a set in four of her six matches so far.
In the first semifinal on Saturday, Kawa defeated American Bernarda Pera in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, to book her place in the final.
"I do not have so much experience at WTA level especially at Top 100 level, so I am lucky," the World No.194 said.
"I had a lot of matches in three sets, but this one in two sets. I am confident, but I cannot say that this match was easy for me, even though it was in two sets. It was pretty exhausting, and I'm happy to be in the finals.
"It was a long week for me and tomorrow is quite and important day, too...I will just relax and tomorrow, I will get ready for the match."
Despite over 150 places between them in the WTA rankings, the World No.11 remains wary of the Cinderella story as she seeks her fourth career title.
"She has nothing to lose in the final and this makes her dangerous," Sevastova said of Kawa. "I don’t know her that well, but I have seen a few of her matches – she is playing well and knows the courts, having played so many matches."