Veronika Kudermetova is channeling her inner Khabib Nurmagomedov this week at the first WTA event of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Who is Nurmagomedov? The Russian is her idol and is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts after retiring with an undefeated 29-0 record.
"If I take my idol from tennis, it was Maria Sharapova," Kudermetova said in Abu Dhabi. "But my idol now in life is Khabib Nurmagomedov."
Winning five consecutive matches at this week's WTA 500 event, the 23-year-old is throwing some knock out punches of her own. She has upset two seeds so far, No. 10 seed Anett Kontaveit and No. 2. seed Elina Svitolina.
On Tuesday, she continued her run by defeating Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (8), 6-4, to earn a spot in her first ever WTA final. In Wednesday's final, she will attempt to end Aryna Sabalenka 14-match win streak.