Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova to face Victoria Azarenka in Miami Open final
The 30-year-old powered her way into the decider with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky in sweltering conditions.
Kuznetsova’s never-say-die spirit was again on show as almost two hours of scintillating action came to a conclusion with a winning backhand from the Russian.
The veteran shocked the tennis community by beating world number one and hot favorite Serena Williams in the fourth round and will now look to claim glory in a tournament she last won in 2006.
Kuznetsova said finishing Bacsinszky in two sets could well be decisive come this weekend’s clash.
"I am happy that I could hang in there and never let my hands down,” she said.
"I have not been feeling my best but I have been fighting every ball and just trying to run as much as I could.
"I was praying to finish it in two sets so I can have a little bit of time to rest.”
Should Kuznetsova claim glory on Saturday it would be a welcome piece of news for Russian tennis following Maria Sharapova’s suspension from the sport after testing positive for meldonium.
Azarenka represents a tough opponent, however, with the Belarusian making light work of second seed Angelique Kerber to make the final.
The 13th seed lost to Kerber in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January, but claimed an impressive 6-2 7-5 victory on Thursday.
The match took 94 minutes but Azarenka always looked in the ascendancy and will hope to claim glory after winning the Miami Open back in 2011.
"I am very happy I stayed really strong in the end and actually started really well,” she said.
"I started to dictate (early) and I think the beginning was really important. She's such a fighter and an amazing player. I'm glad I kept pushing and kept trying to break her rhythm.”
Williams dominated tennis in 2015, winning three of the four majors, but has not been at her awe-inspiring best so far this year.
This has handed others a chance to claim glory, and Kuznetsova will know that she has all the weaponry to confirm tournament victory after beating the American impressively earlier in the competition.