Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina swept into her third final of the season with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ana Bogdan at the Zavarovalnica Sava Portoroz on Saturday.
No.3 seed Rybakina needed 1 hour and 24 minutes to defeat Bogdan and book a spot in Sunday's final against Katerina Siniakova, who won two matches on Saturday.
Siniakova outlasted defending champion Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5) in a rain-postponed quarterfinal to start the day. After a quick turnaround, Siniakova returned to notch a 6-1, 7-5 semifinal win over qualifier Anna-Lena Friedsam.
Rybakina, who powered her way to her first Grand Slam title at the All-England Club this summer, converted five of her 11 break points against Bogdan in their first meeting. Bogdan had her chances to squeeze into the match, holding eight break points herself, but Rybakina erased them all.
A series of commanding forehands gave Rybakina the service hold to close out the opening set. The Kazakh used her other wing to take the early lead in the second set, firing a backhand winner off a dropshot to break for 2-1.
Rybakina prevailed in a back-and-forth affair two games later, converting her fourth break point of that game to claim a 4-1 advantage. Bogdan made a last-ditch attempt in the next game, grabbing four break points of her own, but Rybakina swatted each of them away before clinching the comfortable win.
Siniakova had a much longer day, but as the current WTA Doubles World No.1, the Czech is accustomed to playing multiple matches in a short span when necessary.
Despite being kept on court for over two-and-a-half hours by Paolini in her quarterfinal, Siniakova had enough in the tank for a straight-sets win later in the day over Friedsam, who had knocked out No.1 seed Emma Raducanu earlier in the week.
Siniakova had 11 winners to just one by Friedsam in the first set. The second set was much more competitive, with Friedsam finding frequent success with chip-and-charge tactics, but Siniakova gritted through a seesawing final game before breaking for the win on her sixth match point.
Rybakina and Siniakova will already face off for the seventh time in their relatively short contemporaneous time on tour. Rybakina holds a 4-2 lead in their head-to-head, with their only 2022 match going Rybakina's way when Siniakova retired with an abdominal injury while trailing by a set in Madrid.
More to come...