Russia v Russia in the WTA Finals in Istanbul

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Istanbul (AFP) – They could face a Wimbledon ban but Anastasia Potapova and Veronika Kudermetova have assured there will be at least one Russian winner on the WTA Tour this year by reaching the Istanbul final on Saturday.

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

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

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

“I try to be ready for anything.”

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

Despite Wimbledon’s ban, Russian and Belarusian players can still compete on the main circuits, but cannot compete under their country’s name or flag.

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

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