Home favourite Marie Bouzkova reached the final of the Livesport Prague Open on Saturday with a 7-6(4) 6-3 win over fellow Czech, 17-year old Linda Noskova, and will meet Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, who saw off China’s Wang Qiang, 6-3 6-0.
I just had to fight from the first ball to last, and I’m just very happy with the win today. I just told myself to keep staying in the moment, to take it point by point. She plays so aggressive, so there were times where she was making unbelievable shots, but I just tried to stay there to turn it around, and I’m just really happy that I was able to do that. Marie Bouzkova
Bouzkova, a Wimbledon quarter-finalist who has yet to win a WTA title, was pushed hard by the talented teenager before advancing to her 4th career final, her second of the year, while Noskova won the 2021 French Open junior title and was playing in her first career WTA semi-final.
8th-seed Bouzkova, the 9th Czech to make the final in tournament history, ended the breakout run of her big-hitting compatriot after a 1 hour 42 minute tussle.
“She’s a very aggressive player so I knew what I was going to face in the match,” Bouzkova said after the match. “I just had to fight from the first ball to last, and I’m just very happy with the win today.
“I just told myself to keep staying in the moment, to take it point by point.
“She plays so aggressive, so there were times where she was making unbelievable shots, but I just tried to stay there to turn it around, and I’m just really happy that I was able to do that.”
Bouzkova led 5-3 in the first set, but needed to come back from 3-1 down in the eventual tiebreak to win it, while she also trailed 3-1 in the second against Noskova, who was wild-carded into the main draw and had knocked out Alizé Cornet, the 5th seed from France, in the 2nd-round,
Bidding to become the 5th Czech to win on home soil since the event debuted at tour-level in 2015, Bouzkova hopes to join the ranks of past champions Karolina Pliskova, Lucie Safarova, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova, while Lucie Hradecka (2015), Kristyna Pliskova (2017), Karolina Muchova (2019) and Tereza Martincova (2021) have been runners-up.
Anastasia Potapova saw off Wang Qiang to take on Marie Bouzkova in Sunday’s final in Prague
Standing between her and the silverware is 7th-seeded Potapova marched into her 2nd WTA final of the year with an emphatic straight sets win over Wang.
The Russian, who eliminated top-seeded Anett Kontaveit in the quarter-finals, is seeking her 2nd WTA title after she won Istanbul in April.
21-year-old Potapova has dropped 18 games in 8 sets this week, including a thumping 6-1 6-1 win over Kontaveit, the top seed and World No 2, in the quarter-finals, and that form continued against Wang, against whom she needed just 60 minutes to dispatch, winning 5 of the first 6 games, and then the last 7.
“In the second set, I got more confident,” she said. “In the first set, I was a little bit more nervous, maybe thinking too much about the finals and everything.
“In the second set, I was just trying to play as free as I wanted to.”
Potapova and Bouzkova have played once before, in the Miami Open qualifying, when the Czech was a 6-3 3-6 6-4 winner, in a match which Potapova called one of the best she had played this year, even in defeat.
“I’m sure she’s going to be very confident because she’s playing at home … but at the same time, it’s always tough,” Potapova added. “I’m just going to enjoy the final, because there are not so many days where you play the finals.”