Top two seeds Yanina Wickmayer and Vitalia Diatchenko will meet in front of a capacity crowd of around 500 in today’s final of the Budgen Motors World Tennis Tour W60 Shrewsbury tournament.
There will be British interest in the doubles final which follows after an impressive victory for Freya Christie, partnering Russian Valeria Savinykh, last night.
They will take on second seeds Wickmayer, who faces a busy afternoon, and Arina Rodionova.
Currently next to each other in the world rankings, with Wickmayer one place higher at 126, the two singles finalists have not lost a set between them this week at The Shrewsbury Club.
Belgian star Wickmayer, 29, beat French player Harmony Tan 7-5, 6-4 in the last four of the $60,000 event yesterday.
Russian ace Diatchenko, 28, was level at 3-3 with Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov in the first set of the second semi-final when the Spanish fifth seed had the misfortune to suffer an ankle injury which meant she was unable to continue.
“I feel for her today,” said Diatchenko. “She sprained her ankle when she was running. Not the way I want to finish the match today, but looking forward to the final.”
Now she hopes to follow up the $25,000 title she won in Grenoble, France last week by becoming a champion once again.
“I had goals for these couple of tournaments to get back to the top 100,” said Diatchenko, who was once as high as 71 in the world rankings.
As for playing in front of a big Shrewsbury crowd today, she smiled: “So many people are coming to watch – I think Shrewsbury really likes to watch tennis.”
Diatchenko, who beat Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon last summer before being knocked out by Jelena Ostapenko in the last 32, added: “I just want to show my best game.”
Wickmayer, the former world No. 12 and once a US Open semi-finalist, has been equally consistent throughout the week in reaching the final.
She was again happy with how she played as she got the better of Tan in a match which lasted just under one and a half hours.
“She’s definitely a tough opponent,” said Wickmayer, of the player she beat in the last four.
“I think she plays a different game than most of us do. She plays very smart, is very talented and she can do a lot of things on court.
“It was a tough opponent and I really had to work hard for every point, but that’s what I’m here for and happy to be through to the final.”
Now preparing to take on Diatchenko, Wickmayer added: “She’s a really tough opponent. She hits pretty hard and plays pretty aggressive, so another different game style than the one I played today, so I know I’m going to have to be at my best and I’m going to have to be very aggressive. I’m going to focus on myself, focus on my game and try to be ready.”
Meanwhile, Christie and Savinykh produced a fine display to win their doubles semi-final last night in just over an hour. They beat German Antonia Lottner and Cornelia Lister from Sweden 6-1, 6-3.
Christie won a doubles title at The Shrewsbury Club, partnering British Fed Cup star Harriet Dart, in 2017.
Wickmayer and Australian Rodionova booked their place in the final with a 6-3, 6-3 success against Canadian Sharon Fichman and American Maria Sanchez.
Today’s singles final starts at 1.30pm, with the doubles final to follow.