Kuznetsova wins Kremlin Cup, beating Pavlyuchenkova

MOSCOW — Svetlana Kuznetsova swept aside a tired Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 to win the Kremlin Cup on Saturday.

Kuznetsova’s dominance was never in doubt against a fellow Russian who admitted being exhausted as she played her 10th match in 12 days.

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For the two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova, it is her first title in her home country and comes at her 11th attempt at the Kremlin Cup.

"Playing in Moscow’s really hard for me because it’s the one I want most. It’s pretty much the same emotions as at Roland Garros," she said.

Kuznetsova hailed Pavlyuchenkova, who was struggling for fitness after she won the Generali Ladies tournament in Austria last week, as "a real fighter" for playing through the pain.

Pavlyuchenkova held serve with difficulty in the early stages but struggled to move around the court and was soon overwhelmed.

From 2-2 in the first set, Kuznetsova won the next nine games as she cruised to victory in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

"It was painful that the final turned out like that but I’m happy that I made the final," Pavlyuchenkova said.

"I couldn’t put any pressure on my left leg when serving, so the serve wasn’t working at all. Plus Sveta was playing great. It seemed everything was going her way."

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It was Kuznetsova’s 15th career title and her first since the Citi Open in Washington in 2014.

Pavlyuchenkova had been bidding to become only the second woman to retain the Kremlin Cup title, matching the 2004 achievement of Anastasia Myskina, who is now Kuznetsova’s coach.

Top-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia reached the men’s final with a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian wild card entry Evgeny Donskoy.

The big-serving Cilic faced just one break point as he held serve throughout, firing in 10 aces and landing 70 percent of first serves.

In Sunday’s final, Cilic will face either Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut or Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber.