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Anisimova beats Kasatkina, to clash with Sasnovich in Melbourne 2 final

Amanda Anisimova beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-0 to set up title clash with Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Sunday in Melbourne Summer Set 2 on January 8, 2022.
Amanda Anisimova beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-0 to set up title clash with Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Sunday in Melbourne Summer Set 2 on January 8, 2022. Photo: Australian Open

Melbourne, Jan 8 (MNN) Amanda Anisimova beat number 3 seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-0 to set up a title clash with Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Sunday in Melbourne Summer Set 2.

The American’s victory in 56-minute semi-final clash on Saturday broke a nearly three-year drought since Anisimova’s last final in April 2019 when she won her first WTA singles title in Bogota over Astra Sharma.

In fact, this week marked her first semi-finals on tour in exactly two years, when she lost to Serena Williams in the final four at 2020 Auckland.

Anisimova, though, continued her mastery of Kasatkina to achieve that goal. Anisimova had beaten the Russian in straight sets in their lone previous meeting as well, which came at that aforementioned Auckland tournament two years ago.

On Saturday, Kasatkina never held serve, with Anisimova converting seven of her 11 break points en route to the quick win. Anisimova was particularly ruthless returning the Kasatkina second serve, with the American taking a whopping 82 percent of those points.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich stuns Ann Li in second semi-finals

Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich always finds a way to play her best tennis in Australia and the world number 107 struck again this week in Melbourne. Playing in her first semi-finals since 2019 Sydney, the 27-year-old is into her first final since 2018 Brisbane after defeating number 7 seed Ann Li 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3.

Having reached a career-high at number 30 in 2018, Sasnovich has enjoyed resurgent form over her last three tournaments. She defeated back-to-back Top 50 opponents in Indian Wells last fall, defeating Emma Raducanu and Simona Halep, and repeated the feat this week, defeating Clara Tauson and Li.

Sasnovich credited her character for her comeback win over Li on Saturday. Neither woman had lost a set in the tournament, but Li looked the stronger player early. Playing in her fourth tour semi-finals, the 21-year-old American led 5-2 in the first set.

But Sasnovich’s forehand would prove the difference in the match, and she turned the opening set around as she found her range.

Sasnovich faced down one set point on her serve at 4-5 and sealed her comeback by taking a tight tiebreak, 7-4.

Li bounced back quickly to take the second set and force a decider, but Sasnovich jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead and never looked back. On Sunday she will look to win her first WTA title, having made two prior finals.

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