WTA Wrap: Kvitova beats Barty in Qatar Open semis, Watson enters Acapulco final

Petra Kvitova dug deep to beat world number one Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus breezed past Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 2020 Qatar Open.

Petra Kvitova ended a run of four straight defeats to Barty, including in the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year.   -  REUTERS

Petra Kvitova battled past world number one Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on Friday to set up a Qatar Open final against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.

The two-time Wimbledon winner overcame a second-set blip to reach the 37th WTA final of her career and her second in Doha, where she won the 2018 title.

Kvitova ended a run of four straight defeats to Barty, including in the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year.

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Australia's Barty has now lost in back-to-back semifinals after her last-four loss to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in Melbourne.

It will be Kvitova's first final since April last year in Stuttgart.

The 29-year-old Czech, ranked 11th in the world, is chasing a 28th tour title.

-Sabalenka sends Kuznetsova packing-

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus dispatched Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3 on Friday to seal a place in the Qatar Open final.

Ninth seed Sabalenka broke twice former Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova four times as she reached a 10th career WTA final -- her first of the 2020 season.

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-Watson one step away from ending title drought-

Heather Watson is on track to win her first WTA title in four years after reaching the Mexican Open final.

Watson – the British seventh seed – overcame Wang Xiyu 6-4 7-6 (8-6) at the WTA International tournament in Acapulco on Friday.

Not since the 2016 Monterrey Open has Watson claimed a WTA trophy but the British number two moved a step closer to ending that drought.

Watson, who lost the Tianjin Open decider in October, will meet Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the final.

Fernandez – contesting her maiden WTA semi-final – was too good for local wildcard Renata Zarazua 6-3 6-3.

Zarazua became the first Mexican woman to reach a WTA Tour semi-final since 1993 after triumphing in the quarter-finals, but she was no match for the 17-year-old.

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