Adelaide | Ostapenko to meet Kasatkina in WTA 500 final after Pegula withdraws

World No 12 Jelena Ostapenko will face 15th-ranked Daria Kasatkina for the title on Saturday at the Adelaide International.

It was a really tough match. I knew she's a great player and it's going to be tough. She can serve really big and she's hitting the ball great. I was trying to play my game, even if, sometimes, I could really find it, try to be consistent and, when I had the chance, to go for it. Jelena Ostapenko

Kasatkina advanced to the final after 2nd-seeded Jessica Pegula from America withdrew ahead of their semi-final due to a gastrointestinal illness in what was the Russian’s second consecutive walkover, after Laura Siegemund withdrew ahead of their quarter-final due to a left leg injury.

With wins over Sorana Cirstea, Caroline Garcia, Marta Kostyuk, and Ekaterina Alexandrova, Ostapenko is into her first hard-court final since winning Seoul in 2022.

On Friday, the Latvia played confident, contained tennis to earn her 3rd win in 7 tour-level matches against Ekaterina Alexandrova from Russia, winning through 6-2 7-6(3).

“It was a really tough match,” Ostapenko said on court. “I knew she’s a great player and it’s going to be tough.

“She can serve really big and she’s hitting the ball great. I was trying to play my game, even if, sometimes, I could really find it, try to be consistent and, when I had the chance, to go for it.”

Jelena Ostapenko (L) came from behind in the second set to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semi-final

© Michael Errey/AFP via Getty Images

Ostapenko needed just 36 minutes to take a one-set lead, and Alexandrova, who ousted World No 3 Elena Rybakina 6-3 6-3 the night before, looked slow-footed and fatigued throughout the match.

She managed to keep the contest closer in the second set, and built a 5-3 lead ahead of serving to force a deciding set, but Ostapenko responded with a perfect return game to break to love.

In the tiebreak, Ostapenko raced away from 3-3 before sealing the win after the Russian coughed up a double-fault on match point.

“Sometimes, when I had to play more aggressively, the last few seasons I was not doing this well,” Ostapenko said. “Now I feel in deciding moments, when I have to go for my shots, and when I have to put pressure on the opponent, I’m doing it better than the last couple of seasons.

“I’m just feeling good and really excited to be in the finals.”

The Latvia finished with 36 winners to 22 unforced errors, while Alexandrova hit 16 winners to her 11 miscues.

Ostapenko has won 5 of her 7 matches against Kasatkina, with their last meeting coming in Rome last spring, where the Latvian won 6-4 4-6 6-0.

Both players are bidding to capture their 7th career singles title on Saturday.

Jessica Pegula pulled out her semi-final against Daria Kasatkina due to illness

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images

As for Pegula, the GI illness could not have come at a worse time just days ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Sunday.

GI illnesses are any ailments linked to the digestive system, including the throat, stomach, and intestines, and often are physically debilitating, although they often pass quickly.

It is not first time the World No 5 has suffered a setback just before the start of a Grand Slam.

After arriving in Paris for the 2023 French Open, Pegula got food poisoning after her first dinner, and was was unable to fully practice and properly prepare for the French Open for several days.

Pegula still competed but was far from her best in Paris and her run ended in the 3rd-round with a 1-6 3-6 loss to Elise Mertens.

The American AO 5th seed faces Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, ranked 182, in the 1st-round at Melbourne Park.

Daria Kasatkina reached the final without striking a ball after receiving walkovers from Jessica Pegula and Laura Siegemund in Adelaide

© Patrick Hamilton/AFP via Getty Images



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