Viking Classic Birmingham 2021: Jabeur and Kasatkina book places in final
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Ons Jabeur will compete against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in the final of the Viking Classic Birmingham after overcoming Britain’s Heather Watson 6-3, 6-3.
With heavy rain causing a washout yesterday, those remaining in the tournament had to play two singles matches today.
Watson – who started the day by beating Croatia’s Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-2 – went into her semi-final match with Jabeur high on confidence after becoming the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1992 to reach the last four in Birmingham.
And when it came to her afternoon semi-final, a hard-fought third game in the opening set proved pivotal.
Although Watson saved four break points, Jabeur took it on the fifth attempt to take a 3-1 lead and the second seed never looked back after that as she broke Watson again late in the set to clinch the opener 6-3.
Watson fought back immediately – breaking her opponent in the first game of the second set with a perfectly-judged drop shot winner wrapping up the first game.
Jabeur broke back at the next opportunity and kept applying the pressure throughout the final set – claiming seven break points and taking two of them.
The Tunisian player won the tie on her first match point as Watson fired her service return long, and she will now have the opportunity to win her second grass court title – Jabeur triumphed at the Fuzion 100 Manchester Trophy in 2018.
“She’s a tough opponent and I love playing her,” Jabeur said. “We know each other well – we’ve played each other a few times – and it’s tough to play against her in Birmingham in particular.
“I tried to not waste my time on the court today to save energy as I knew it was going to be a long day. I played really well in the morning and in the second match I just tried to give it my all and make sure I am ready for the final.”
Jabeur had beaten Russia's Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 6-0 in her quarter-final earlier in the day and will face Kasatkina in the final after the fourth seed outclassed American Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-4.
“It was a busy day in the green office,” said Kasatkina. “It was a tough two days – waiting yesterday was tough – and I am very happy to be in a grass court final for the first time and in Birmingham as well.
“Anastasia started the match really fast but I was able to handle the pressure and resist the aggressive game and I was very happy at 5-4 to close out the match.”