A Russian was assured in the Moscow final and that man is Aslan Karatsev who upended his countryman Karen Khachanov 7-6(7), 6-1 in semifinal action on Saturday.
Karatsev, who was a total unknown at this time last year, had to save four set points in the opening set before pulling away in the second.
“I tried to not think about the score in the tiebreak and just play point by point,” Karatsev said on court. “At 5-6 I made a great return and he got nervous and that is how I managed to win it.”
The 28-year-old Karatsev is into his third ATP final — all this year — and will seek a second title after Dubai. He’ll meet 2-time tournament champion Marin Cilic in the final.
The Croat reached his 34th career title match topping lucky loser Ricardis Berankis 6-3, 6-4.
“It was a tough match, Ricardas played well,” Cilic said to the crowd. “The first set was great from my side. I served amazing but then Ricardas began to find his rhythm and played much better in the second set. I managed to play a tough second set. Mentally it was difficult, but I managed to play my best tennis at the right time.”
Cilic will look for a second title of the year, third in Moscow and 20th of his career. He won in Moscow in 2014 and 2015.
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