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Kasatkina vs Jabeur WTA Moscow Final Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Kasatkina halt Jabeur's historic run?

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 19 Oct 2018
  • Daria Kasatkina vs Ons Jabeur is live from Moscow on Saturday, 20 October from 1:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST
  • Kasatkina won their only previous meeting at the Rio Olympics in 2016
Daria Kasatkina. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Daria Kasatkina contests her second consecutive Kremlin Cup final when she takes on Tunisian qualifier, Ons Jabeur in Moscow on Saturday.

This is Kasatkina's second final of the season, and fourth overall, but for her opponent, Jabeur, Saturday will be a brand new experience, as the 24-year-old Tunisian becomes the first player from her country to contest a WTA singles final. Can the qualifier complete a historic week by taking down Kasatkina on Saturday? 

Being the higher ranked player, and by some distance too, Kasatkina naturally goes into the final as the favourite, as she looks to add a second career title to the one she picked up in Charleston last year.

A title in Moscow will add further gloss to an excellent season for Kasatkina, who has already played finals at Indian Wells and Dubai, and Grand Slam quarter finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Kasatkina hadn't reached a quarter final since that Wimbledon run, but she has found some late form in Moscow, beating Lesia Tsurenko, Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Johanna Konta. She's dropped just one set all week, against Cornet in the second round, but she has recorded identical 6-4 6-3 victories in the subsequent two rounds to book her place in Saturday's final.

Kasatkina made a very fast start to her semi-final against Konta, taking control of the first set with a break in the fourth game. The Russian stumbled as she approached the finish line, missing out on four set points as Konta served at 2-5, and surrendering her serve in the next game on the back of successive double faults. Kasatkina would not be denied, as she broke again to close out the opening set.

Konta threatened a fight back when she broke to open the second set, but Kasatkina hit back by winning three straight games, including back-to-back breaks to open up a 3-1 lead. She was rarely troubled after that, taking the match on her second match point.

Looking to deny the Russian a popular title on home soil is Tunisia's Jabeur, who has been absolutely sensational all week, taking down three seeded players to stand on the brink of a historic title. Even if she doesn't win on Saturday, Jabeur has already etched her name in history, but given the form she has shown all week, there is every reason to believe she can leave Moscow as a WTA titlist.

After coming through three rounds of qualifying, the Tunisian served notice of her intentions with an impressive 6-1 6-2 victory over Ekaterina Makarova. 

Ons Jabeur. (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
If that slipped under the radar, her 6-2 6-3 dispatch of Sloane Stephens certainly didn't, and she followed it up with another superb 7-5 6-1 victory over Anett Kontaveit to set up a semi-final date with fifth seed, Anastasija Sevastova. 

Jabeur recovered from dropping her serve in the opening game of the match to dominate the first set, while Sevastova broke midway through the second set en route levelling the match, and forcing a decider. The Latvian, who had won three consecutive deciding sets in Moscow looked on course for a fourth when she twice lead by a break in the final set, but Jabeur refused to go away, fighting back on each occasion before launching a strong finish. The Tunisian won four straight games from 2-3 down, claiming 16 of the last 18 points to record another famous win. Victory was sealed with a forehand winner, her 45th winner of the match.

"This is really amazing and I'm really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn't easy because she plays really good. I'm really happy that that Tunisians are here. They helped me through the end of the match because it was a little bit difficult," Jabeur said on-court after the match.

A former French Open Girls' champion, Jabeur was a promising junior, and she broke into the top 100 in 2017, the same year she reached the third round of the French Open. A disappointing first half of 2018, during which she didn't win a single WTA main draw match saw her fall as low as 180th in the world, but a fine grass season, which yielded a 100K title in Manchester and a first tour-level match win of the season at Wimbledon eased the stress on her ranking. She claimed back to back wins for the first time this year in a quarter final run in Bucharest in July. There was nothing spectacular after that- she did get past Simona Halep in Beijing, via retirement- but she has definitely been spectacular in Moscow, where she will look to supply the perfect finish with victory over Kasatkina on Saturday.

Kasatkina won their only previous encounter at the Rio Olympics in 2016- the Russian coming from a set down to claim victory. Another watchable affair is on the cards, with both ladies never shy of a trick shot or two!

Jabeur will begin Saturday's rematch as the underdog, but the 24-year-old has been on a giant-killing spree all week. Kasatkina better be warned. 

Daria Kasatkina vs Ons Jabeur is live from Moscow on Saturday, 20 October from 1:00pm local time/ 11:00am BST

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify 

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Kasatkina vs Jabeur WTA Moscow Final Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Kasatkina halt Jabeur's historic run?

Daria Kasatkina and Ons Jabeur meet in the final of the Kremlin Cup on Saturday. Can Kasatkina halt Jabeur's sensational run? Read our previews, predictions and stream the match live online.

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