Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova knocked out top-seeded Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-4 in the Cincinnati semi-final on Saturday to set up a final with American Madison Keys.
Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up, defeated compatriot Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4.
Keys booked her finals spot as she won an all-American match littered with 12 breaks of serve.
She earned match points with a flick volley winner angled steeply cross-court and amazed herself with the get. “I looked at my box in shock,” she admitted. “I’m really feeling great about my tennis.
Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion who has been hindered lately by injury, will be in search of her 19th WTA title – and her first in more than a year – when she takes on .
The Russian denied Barty a chance to reclaim the world number one ranking, which the Australian would have done by reaching the final.
Instead the triumph by 34-year-old Kuznetsova leaves injured Naomi Osaka atop the rankings with the US Open looming.
Barty, who had rallied from a set down in each of her previous two matches, also said she was taking positives from the week to Flushing Meadows.
“This was a week that I battled through,” Barty said. “At times I played some good stuff. At times I played some pretty awful stuff.
“I’ve learned a lot from this week, and there are nothing but positives going into New York,” she said.
With AFP Inputs