Harriet Dart’s hopes of following up her first WTA Tour semi-final appearance with a maiden final were dashed by Karolina Pliskova at the Transylvania Open.
Dart, the British No 3, had enjoyed a career-best week in the Romanian city of Cluj, winning two qualifiers to progress to the main draw and then three more matches to reach the last four, dropping just one set on the way.
But things were tougher against former world No 1 Pliskova, who broke Dart’s serve three times to take the opening set 6-3 before easing clear in the second set by the same 6-3 score.
But Dart kept the match competitive throughout and can undoubtedly take great heart from her impressive week after a run to the semi-finals which will see the 27-year-old return to the top 100 on the WTA Tour rankings.
Pliskova will now play Ana Bogdan in Sunday’s final after the No 8 seed came through an all-Romanian semi-final in three sets against Adina Cristian, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Watch the final live on Sky Sports Arena from 3pm.
WTA 500 Abu Dhabi: Rybakina vs Kasatkina in final
Top seed Elena Rybakina made a fast start before battling past Russian Liudmila Samsonova 6-0 4-6 6-2 in the Abu Dhabi Open semi-finals on Saturday to book an intriguing title clash with Daria Kasatkina.
The former Wimbledon champion, seeking her second title of the season following her Brisbane triumph, breezed through the opening set in double quick time by unleashing her big serve and heavy groundstrokes.
But eighth seed Samsonova had other ideas and went ahead 4-1 in the second set, mixing up her power game with deft drops shots before levelling at one set apiece to keep alive hopes of a fifth win over the Moscow-born Kazakh in as many meetings.
Rybakina ramped up the pressure and grabbed a break in the fourth game of the decider after an untimely double fault by Samsonova and there was no looking back as the world number five wrapped up the contest.
Earlier, seventh seed Kasatkina also shook off a mid-match blip to move into her second final of the season with a 6-3 4-6 7-6(2) victory over Beatriz Haddad Maia in an absorbing contest lasting nearly three hours.
Sky Sports Tennis launches on Sunday
Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis set to launch on Sky and NOW on Sunday, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.
Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.
Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.
For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.
Big names in action on Sky Sports Tennis this week
WTA Qatar Open:
Emma Raducanu, Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff
ATP ABN Amro Open Rotterdam:
Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev
ATP Delray Beach Open:
Dan Evans, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe
ATP Argentina Open:
Cameron Norrie, Carlos Alcaraz, Stan Wawrinka
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Watch the WTA and ATP Tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports Tennis. Stream tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership