Kuznetsova and Pavlyuchenkova to meet in Moscow final
MOSCOW — Svetlana Kuznetsova will face reigning champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in an all-Russian Kremlin Cup final after both won their semifinals on Friday.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova overcame Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 6-4 despite twice going a break down in the second set. At 4-2 down, Kuznetsova fought back to win the next four games and take the match.
"I was comfortable, had it together," Kuznetsova. "There was a while in the second set when I stopped playing the right tennis, the right tactics, but then I recovered it just in time."
Pavlyuchenkova is one match away from retaining her Kremlin Cup title after beating Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in just over two hours.
Pavlyuchenkova landed just 54 percent of her first serves and said she had been feeling tired after winning in Linz last week.
"Even being on the court was hard. My condition was really bad today," she said.
If Pavlyuchenkova wins Saturday’s final, she will be the first woman to retain the Kremlin Cup title since Anastasia Myskina, now Kuznetsova’s coach, did so in 2004.
In the men’s event, top-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia will play a semifinal against Russian wild card Evgeny Donskoy.
Cilic, last year’s U.S. Open champion, swept past Russia’s Andrei Kuznetsov 6-2, 6-1 in less than an hour in their quarterfinal. "I’m very happy the way I played today. Very aggressive and I was hitting the ball very early," said Cilic, who is the reigning champion in Moscow.
Donskoy won an all-Russian quarterfinal 6-3, 6-2 against Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain reached the other semifinal with a 6-4, 6-2 win over France’s Lucas Pouille.
He next faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who won 6-2, 6-4 against Dutch player Robin Haase.