Kuznetsova, Puig into Sydney tennis final


Sydney (AFP)

Veteran Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova upset world number two Simona Halep to reach the final of the Sydney International on Friday.

The 30-year-old won a rain-interrupted semi-final over the Romanian top seed 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours 44 minutes and will play Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig in the decider later Friday.

The 94th-ranked Puig had an easy ride into only her second WTA final when Swiss eighth seed Belinda Bencic retired with an illness after losing the opening set 6-0.

Kuznetsova, making her 11th appearance at the Sydney tournament, has yet to face Puig in a tour event.

Rain seriously disrupted the tournament's programme on Thursday and the two women's semi-finals were held over until Friday with Halep leading 5-4 when play was suspended.

Puig resumed on Friday leading 4-0 over Bencic in the first set and only played two more games to take the set before her opponent pulled out of the match citing a stomach illness.

"It's my first final in two years, so I'm really excited to be back in a final and really excited to just get out there and compete," Puig said.

"I'll fight my hardest for the win."