March 21, 2023

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Russia v Russia in Istanbul WTA final

Russia v Russia in Istanbul WTA final

They may be facing a Wimbledon ban but Anastasia Potapova and Veronika Kudermetova ensured there will be at least one Russian winner on the WTA Tour this year by reaching the Istanbul final on Saturday.

Potapova defeated Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 while Kudermetova knocked out defending champion Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 6-3 in the other semi-final.

Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian players from this summer’s Grand Slam tournament due to the invasion of Ukraine.

It was a decision condemned by the ATP and WTA as well as a host of players including world number one Novak Djokovic who described the sanction as “crazy”.

“When you want something really bad, you want to do whatever it takes,” said 122-ranked Potapova after her win on Saturday which put her into a first final since 2018.

“I’m trying to keep myself ready for anything.”

Kudermetova will contest her fifth career final and third of 2022 following Melbourne, where she was runner-up to Simona Halep, and Dubai in February, where she fell to Jelena Ostapenko.

Despite the Wimbledon ban, Russian and Belarusian players can still compete on the main tours but are barred from competing under the name or flag of their countries.

Their national teams have, however, been banned from the Davis Cup and BJK Cup competitions.

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