Bencic and Kasatkina to face off for Adelaide honours

13 January 2023, by Adelaide International Tennis

Belinda Bencic and Daria Kasatkina will meet in the final of the Adelaide International after they each advanced when their respective opponents withdrew due to injury.

Bencic was due to face Veronika Kudermetova, but the No.8 seed announced after practice that she was troubled by a left hip injury. It followed epic three-setters for Kudermetova in her two previous matches – her quarterfinal progression over American Danielle Collins yesterday extended beyond three hours.

Swiss star Bencic is aiming to claim a sixth singles trophy and her fifth on a hard court.

The 25-year-old led her nation to Billie Jean King Cup victory late last year and has now won nine of her last 10 matches, claiming 16 of 19 sets as she hits top form in Australia.

Earlier, fifth seed Kasatkina progressed to tomorrow’s final after Spain’s Paula Badosa announced that an abductor injury had forced her withdrawal.

The 25-year-old Russian has the chance to claim a seventh WTA title and her second in Australia, having previously claimed the Phillip Island Trophy in February 2021.

“I’m really disappointed that I had to withdraw today because I was really looking forward to the match,” Badosa commented.

“Yesterday when I was playing, it was a very tough match, especially physical, so I felt a little bit in my abductor. I felt like I pulled it a little bit.”

Badosa battled through a gruelling quarterfinal clash with Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia that stretched beyond two and a half hours.  

“Today I feel a little bit worse, so yeah, I have the Australian Open ahead, and I hope I can recover for that.”

The Spaniard was pleased with her form this week, providing another strong lead in to a Slam after winning the Sydney International at the same time last year.

“I think I was playing very good tennis,” Badosa assessed of her tournament overall. “I think that helps me, as well, on my confidence for the tournaments ahead. Now it’s something that I cannot control, so it is what it is.

“I really enjoyed the time here. I like to play in Australia. I’m happy about my level. I’m happy with the way that I started the year, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of it.”

Earlier in the day, an excellent contest determined the women’s doubles crown, Brazil’s Luisa Stefani and American Taylor Townsend combining to defeat experienced Russian-Kazakhstani duo Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elina Rybakina 7-5 7-6 (3).

Townsend has now won both Adelaide International titles this month with different partners – fellow American Asia Muhammad  last week, and now a first career title with Stefani.

“It’s really so special to be able to play two weeks in a row,” Townsend said.  “It’s a unique opportunity for us to be able to settle in and play two high-quality tournaments.”

Townsend will team up with Muhammad again at the Australian Open next week.