Rybakina, Zhang advance to Hobart International final

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HOBART, Australia — Elena Rybakina twice received on-court treatment late in the third set Friday and still beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Hobart International.

The 20-year-old Rybakina said she pulled a muscle.

“It happened to me for the first time and I was a bit scared because it’s not a nice feeling,” Rybakina said. “It was better after the treatment. I will go away to the physio and try to recover.”

Rybakina, who was born in Russia but represents Kazakhstan, also reached the final at the Shenzhen Open in China before coming to Australia.

Rybakina will play fourth-seeded Zhang Shuai in Saturday’s final. The 30-year-old Zhang beat Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-4.

Zhang, who made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year and won the Australian Open doubles title with Samantha Stosur, reached her third WTA final.

She contemplated retirement after dropping to No. 186 at the end of 2015 but has finished every year in the top 50 since. She will also play in the doubles final on Saturday.