Third seed Elena Rybakina was pushed all the way in her semifinal against qualifier Heather Watson before eventually prevailing in three sets to move into the Hobart International final.
The 20 year-old took the match 6-4 4-6 6-4 in just over two and a quarter hours, qualifying for her second consecutive WTA final after finishing runner-up in Shenzhen last week.
For 2015 champion Watson, it was the end of a strong run that saw her play her sixth game of the tournament after entering the main draw via the qualifying rounds, seeing the Brit hit some strong form ahead of the Australian Open.
“I have played a lot of tennis, and this is exactly how I wanted to start the year,” she said.
“I have been focusing on that mental side and fighting for every point and finding my love for the game again.”
“I am really enjoying competing again.”
Rybakina, who has overpowered most of her opponents this week, found herself trading powerful groundstrokes with Watson on a regular basis, forcing the No.30 to adopt aggressive tactics in order to get on top late in the match.
“I played risky and I won the last three games,” she said.
“I tried to serve really good just to get some easier, short points and finish the rallies as fast as I could.”
It's finals day👊
Third seed and rising star Elena Rybakina will take on fourth seed Zhang Shuai for the singles title🏆
— Hobart International (@HobartTennis) January 18, 2020
Rybakina will face fourth seed Zhang Shuai in the final on Saturday, with the Chinese No. 2 eyeing off her first WTA singles title outside of China.
Tickets for the final are on sale now via Ticketmaster.
The singles final commences at 1:00pm, with the doubles final pitting Zhang Shuai and Peng Shuai against Nadiia Kichenok and former doubles No.1 Sania Mirza to follow after Zhnag has had suitable time to rest.
Prices start from $45 for adults and entry is free for children with a paying adult.