Rogers books first final in six years, faces Kasatkina in San Jose

Shelby Rogers continued her dominating week at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, beating Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-4 to advance to her first final in six years. Rogers will face Daria Kasatkina in Sunday’s final. A runner-up in San Jose last year, Kasatkina booked her spot in the championship on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-4 win over No. 4 Paula Badosa.

Rogers on the brink of a milestone: The 29-year-old will finally be looking to break through to claim her first career title. The hard-hitting American has been unstoppable this week, picking up wins over Bianca Andreescu, top seed Maria Sakkari, Amanda Anisimova and Kudermetova without dropping a set. Rogers has not lost more than four matches in any set she has played.

The hot conditions of the day directly fueled Rogers’ service. In her four matches, she was beaten only three times.

“Incredible,” Rogers said. “It’s the position you want to be in every week. It’s what we train for. As much as you sacrifice and work, it’s just nice to see it all fall into place. is probably one of the most fun weeks I’ve had on tour, it says a lot about why I play well.

“I try not to go too high or too low. I just take one point at a time and focus on the things I can control. My serve has been working really well this week and I just want to hitting every ball, which is a nice feeling.”

Kasatkina’s exceptional season continues: Playing her first tournament since Berlin, Kasatkina defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and two Top 10 players in No. 6 Aryna Sabalenka and No. 4 Paula Badosa to make her first final of the season. The 25-year-old has quietly put together one of the best seasons of her career, having made back-to-back semi-finals at Rome and Roland Garros and now one win away from returning to the Top 10 for the first time since 2019.

“To play the Finals twice in a row here in San Jose means it’s a special place for me,” Kasatkina said. “

As she has done all week, Kasatkina played disciplined and contained play to tempt Badosa out of the game. Kasatkina hit 11 winners for 11 unforced errors while Badosa hit 16 winners for 30 unforced errors. Kasatkina came through the first set after 30 minutes but was forced to pull herself together after breaking down twice in the second set to seal her fourth victory against a Top 5 opponent this season.

Sunday’s final will be a contrast of styles: The head-to-head is tied at 1-1, with Kasatkina winning their last encounter in May at Roland Garros. Rogers won his only meeting on a hard court, which took place in 2017 in Miami.

“I love him, he’s a great person,” Kasatkina said. “I’m really happy to share this day and this special moment with her on the court. It will be great memories. But of course on the court we will fight against each other, but at the end of the day, what will be special.”

The challenge will be for Kasatkina to blunt Rogers’ flat base power. Kasatkina trained well precisely this week in which she won victories against players like Sabalenka and Rybakina. Rogers has yet to play someone as crafty and disciplined as Kasatkina, a player who will be stingy in giving away free points.

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