WTA Portugal Open: Carla Suarez Navarro to face Svetlana Kuznetsova in final
Top seed Carla Suarez Navarro hopes it will be third time lucky after reaching the final at the WTA Portugal Open.
Last Updated: 02/05/14 5:18pm
Suarez Navarro has yet to win at the tournament - nor any WTA event - but is through to the last two once again after overcoming Romanian qualifier Irina Begu 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 in one and three-quarter hours.
The 25-year-old will next face Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who reached her first final in more than three years with a 6-3 6-1 win over compatriot Elena Vesnina.
The Russian seventh-seed is taking part in her first clay final since Roland Garros five years ago but will fancy her chances, given she has won three of her four meetings with Suarez Navarro, the last in 2013.
"I've been playing well the last two weeks, and I'm happy to be in the final. I never really expected this, especially on clay," said Kuznetsova, who is twice a grand slam winner after successes in the 2009 French Open and 2004 US Open.
"This means a lot to me. I'm far from my top level but my tennis can still get me into this final, I have a chance to beat a lot of top players and I'm gaining confidence."
Suarez Navarro was made to work for her place in the final by the 117th-ranked Begu, who broke the Spaniard four times.
The challenger kept the first set competitive before getting discouraged over line calls and fading in the second, with Suarez Navarro breaking five times in the match.