Moscow - Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced into the final of the Kremlin Cup on Friday with a hard-fought win over fourth seed Ukrainian Elina Svitolina to give her hopes of making the WTA Finals a further boost.
Russia's two-time Grand Slam title winner, ranked ninth, won 6-1, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 to level her record with Svitolina at 1-1.
"I started well but in the second set I lost my nerve," said Kuznetsova. "I could do nothing about it."
Kuznetsova added that she felt no pressure ahead of Saturday's final where she will meet Moscow-born Australian Daria Gavrilova.
"Regardless of the result, I consider this season to be a success. I'm in the top 10 and even if I fail to make it into the WTA Finals it's not the end of the world."
If defending Kremlin Cup champion Kuznetsova, 31, retains her title she will claim the eighth and final place at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore next week.
Should she lose, Johanna Konta of Great Britain will take the last spot.
Gavrilova saw off Germany's Julia Goerges 7-5, 6-1 to reach her first WTA final.
"In the final I know Sveta (Kuznetsova) will get a lot of support, but this is normal," Gavrilova told the press.
"It has been a great week and I am playing with no pressure so I will go out on Saturday and play my game and see what happens."
In the ATP section, second seeded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas crashed out to Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2, falling to the Italian for the second event in succession after a first-round defeat at Shanghai last week.
Fognini will next face Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, who ousted Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 6-2.
In the other semi-final, veteran Frenchman Stephane Robert, 36, who overcame local favourite Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 0-6, 6-4, will face sixth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta.
The Spaniard ousted Russian teenage qualifier Alexander Bublik 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/1).
WTA Kremlin Cup results in Moscow on Friday (x denotes seeding):
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x1) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) 6-1, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4
Daria Gavrilova (AUS) bt Julia Georges (GER) 7-5, 6-1