No.14 Daria Kasatkina came through a three-set thriller to defeat No.12 Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2) in the semifinals of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open.
The 2-hour and 59-minute victory put Kasatkina into her second Hologic WTA Tour final of the season, having made her first in Adelaide last month. The victory is Kasatkina’s first over a Top 20 opponent since defeating No.18 Karolina Pliskova at Eastbourne last summer.
Facing Haddad Maia for the third time, Kasatkina dominated the 43-minute opening set by breaking the Brazilian’s serve four times. It was the first set she had taken off Haddad Maia in five tries. Haddad Maia turned the tables in the second set, as she took advantage of more passive play from Kasatkina to take the match into a decider.
In the 84-minute final set, Kasatkina found herself down a break twice but refused to let Haddad Maia build any momentum. After getting back on serve at 3-3, Kasatkina saved a total of four break points down the stretch to force a deciding tiebreak.
There, Kasatkina outlasted Haddad Maia in a lengthy exchange to build a 2-0 lead and then broke open the scoreline with a perfect defensive lob to extend her, ultimately, insurmountable lead and tally her first win in three tries over the Brazilian.
Kasatkina finished the match with 44 winners to 37 unforced errors, outpacing Haddad Maia’s 31 winners and 38 unforced errors.
Kasatkina is bidding to win her first title since 2022 Granby and her first WTA 5000 since 2022 San Jose. She will face either top seed and World No.4 Elena Rybakina or Liudmila Samsonova on Sunday.
More to follow…