MASON, Ohio — Karolina Pliskova has reached the Western & Southern Open final for the first time, looking to succeed Serena Williams as champion.
Williams, the two-time defending champ, skipped the tournament with a sore shoulder. The 15th-seeded Pliskova beat Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals on Saturday.
If Angelique Kerber reaches the final and wins in Cincinnati, she would move ahead of Williams for the WTA’s No. 1 ranking. Williams has topped the rankings for 183 straight weeks, the second-longest such streak.
Andy Murray is the top player left on the men’s side, which was wiped out by injuries. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer skipped the tournament, and Rafael Nadal was knocked out early as he plays back into shape following a severe wrist injury.
MOSCOW (AP) Julia Goerges will seek to end a six-year wait for a title when she faces Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the Kremlin Cup final.
The seventh-seeded Goerges recovered from a second-set slump to beat Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in their semifinal Friday.
Victory for Goerges in Saturday’s final would end a run of six losses in finals stretching back to 2011, when the German player won in Stuttgart. Three of those losses came in the space of two months this summer.
Earlier Friday, Kasatkina reached her second WTA final of the year when she beat 2014 runner-up Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 6-3.
Kasatkina’s strong returns punished Begu’s serve and restricted the Romanian to holding serve just once in each set.
The 20-year-old Kasatkina is seeking her second career title after victory in Charleston in April.
In the men’s draw, Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina booked a place in the semifinals by defeating 2012 champion Andreas Seppi of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
MOSCOW — Top-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta was knocked out of the Kremlin Cup in the second round by Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday.
The Russian broke 11th-ranked Carreno Busta twice in each set.
Medvedev’s win sets up a quarterfinal against Bosnian qualifier Mirza Basic.
Earlier, Russia’s Daria Kasatkina booked a place in the semifinals of the women’s draw, beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-4, 6-3.
Standing between Kasatkina and her second career final is Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, who prevailed against qualifier Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in their quarterfinal.
The other women’s semifinal pits Germany’s Julia Goerges against Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva.
Goerges, the last seeded player left in the draw, saw off Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-4. Vikhlyantseva eliminated Alize Cornet, winning their quarterfinal 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 despite needing treatment on her left thigh.