Svetlana Kuznetsova reached her first final in more than three years on Friday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow Russian Elena Vesnina to set up a clash with Carla Suarez Navarro at the ATP-WTA Portugal Open.
The Russian seventh-seed will take on the Spanish top seed competing in her third straight final here but without a career trophy of any kind.
Suarez Navarro overcame Romanian qualifier Irina Begu 7-6(3), 6-1 in one and three-quarter hours, Kuznetsova has won three of her four meetings with Suarez Navarro, the last in 2013.
Suarez Navarro, who cruised through her early rounds with barely a challenge, was made to work in the semifinal by Begu ranked 117.
The challenger kept the first set competitive before getting discouraged over line calls and fading in the second.
The winner broke five times but lost her own serve on four occasions. Suarez Navarro will become the season singles win leader with 25 victories as a result of her victory.
Kuznetsova struck 27 winners, breaking her good friend on five of 16 opportunities.
But Vesnina, seeded eighth and ranked 33rd, showed resistance at the end, saving four match points on her serve before Kuznetsova finally prevailed. Vesnina fell victim to six double-faults in defeat.
Kuznetsova won the opening set in 42 minutes and was barely under pressure as she moved smoothly to within one victory of her 14th career singles title. Kuznetsova had lost the only other match she had played against Vesnina, in Dubai five years ago.
Meanwhile, India’s challenge ended in the men’s events with Divij Sharan and Purav Raja going down to top seeds Pablo Cuevas and David Marrero in the doubles quarterfinals here.
The unseeded Indian pair lost 2-6, 2-6 to Uruguay-Spanish combination in the €485,760 clay court event.
Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych defeated Somdev Devverman 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
In Oeiras: ATP/WTA Portugal Open: Men: Quarterfinals: Daniel Gimeno-Traver bt Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-2.
Second round: Tomas Berdych bt Somdev Devvarman 6-3, 6-2; Leonardo Mayer bt Andrey Golubev 6-1, 7-6(3); Carlos Berlocq bt Lukas Kubot 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles: Quarterfinals: Pablo Cuevas & David Marrero bt Divij Sharan & Purav Raja 6-2, 6-2.
Women: Semifinals: Svetlana Kuznetsova bt Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-1; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Irina Begu 7-6(3), 6-1.
Quarterfinals: Elena Vesnina bt Roberta Vinci 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5; Carla Suarez Navarro bt Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-3.
In Munich: ATP BMW Open: Quarterfinals: Martin Klizan bt Denis Istomin 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-1; Tommy Haas bt Andreas Seppi 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Second round: Fabio Fognini bt Dustin Brown 7-6(4), 6-2; Thomaz Bellucci bt Federico Delbonis 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.