World No.46 Veronika Kudermetova saved a set point in the first set and converted her fifth match point in a close second set to beat Marta Kostyuk 7-6(8) 6-4 in the semifinals of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open.
From 1-3 down in the first set, Kudermetova won four games to lead 5-3. At 5-4, the Russian had the opportunity to serve out the set, but Kostyuk led the tense opener into a tense tiebreak. Kostyuk was one point away from taking the first set in a tiebreak, but Kudermetova saved that set point to level the tiebreak at 6-6. From then on it was only Kudermetova who earned set points and the Russian finally converted her third to edge the first set.
In the second set, Kudermetova established a 3-0 lead and even though Kostyuk got the set back on serve by taking two games in a row, Kudermetova took charge again with a 4-2 lead. The battle kept its intensity until the end. In the ninth game, the 19-year-old Kostyuk saved two match points to break back, but at 5-4 Kudermetova converted her fifth match point, in her opponent’s service game.
Kudermetova’s final opponent in Abu Dhabi will be super strong Aryna Sabalenka, undefeated in her last 14 matches. Sabalenka advanced earlier on Tuesday with a confident victory over Maria Sakkari.