September 28, 2018 TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Two Russians Margarita Gasparayan and qualifier Anastasia Potapova will clash in the women’s singles finals of the 20th Tashkent Open WTA Championships being played at the Olympic Tennis Complex here.
In the singles Semifinals played today 17 year old qualifier Anastasia Potapova outplayed Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova 6-2,6-3 in less than a hour , in a dramatic semifinals Unseeded Margarita Gasparayan of Russia kept up her splendid run in the event ending the challenge of German Mona Barthel 4-6,6-1,7-5 in a two hour battle royal.
17 year old Anastasia Potapova made it to her second WTA tour final playing flawless tennis in the semifinals to stop the winning run of 24 year old Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova 6-2,6-3 . The GenNext star Potopova who reached the finals of the Moscow River Cup earlier in the year fired all cylinders from the word go.
The young Russian broke Kozlova who earlier knocked out top seeded Irina Camelia Begu and sixth seeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the 6th and the 8th game to wrap the first set 6-2 in just 27 minutes.
In the second set which saw Kozolova recover a bit , both players found themselves floundering on their serve trading two breaks each early in the set to get the scores level at 3-3 , Kozlova held on to her serve in the 7th game , and broke Kozlova in the 8th game and then served out the match in the 9th game to make it the final as qualifier .
"Its an amazing feeling , The days I’m spending here have surely helped me to improve my game and my confidence " . I got up early today and was waiting to go I wanted to win badly today , I felt very confident from the beginning , I Was a little shaky midway but managed to get past ", Said an elated Potapova
Asked about the finals tomorrow , she said " I Want to experience enjoy the final than getting into pressure I’m sure will have many more opportunities in future too."
Potopova will meet her good friend and doubles partner and country mate Margarita Gasparyan who is making her first ever final after 2015 . Gasparayan who secured her best result here in her last four appearances at Tashkent came out of tricky match against the last remaining highest ranked player in the tournament Mona Barthel of Germany 4-6,6-1,7-5 in a two hour humdinger match.
Gasparayan who entered the tournament as a special exempt owing to knee injury which kept her out of tennis for nearly two years lost the first set after Barthel broke her in the 10th game of the set. Barthel lost her focus in the second set getting broken in the 1st,3rd and the 7th games to allow the match to go in the third set .
Barthel could not get her focus back and was down 1-4 in the third set , at the changeover she asked for her coach to come to the court which changed the flow of the match , Barthel changed her tactics and attacked Gasparayan’s Strongest stroke the backhand and reeled of 4 games in row breaking Gasparayan twice in the 7th and 9th game and go up 5-4.
Barthel who was serving for the match in the 10th game could not hold her nerves and served two double faults which proved to be her nemesis, Barthel was broken by Gaparayan to level scores at 5-5. A close 11th game saw Barthel again gaining securing two breakpoints with a 15-40 lead. But Gasparayan brought out her best to get the game to deuce and hold on to the game and go up 6-5.
Gasparayan with her heroics was more confidant and broke Marthel again in the 12th game and the third set 7-5 with her signature single handed Cross court to seal a creditable win and a place in a all Russian Finals
"It’s a very special Moment for me coming out of my injury and reaching the final after 2 years" said Margarita , I’m looking forward for the finals and will be intresting match.
I played well in the second set and midway till the third set I think I rushed too much to finish the match , but Mona really came back well and put pressure on me especially when she lead 5-4 on serve , but I guess I made most of her mistakes and very happy to have made the final, It was very important for me and I’m thrilled " said the 24 year Russian currently ranked 299
Potapova’s entry into the finals , ensured her entry into the top 100 club a win here could make her the youngest winner in the History of Tashkent Open and propelling her to around 83 in world rankings while a runners-up position will ensuring her a world ranking of 94 .For Gasparayan a win tomorrow ensures a ranking of 136 and runners up position getting her to around 170 in rankings.