MOSCOW — Anett Kontaveit twice came back from the brink of defeat to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 and win the Kremlin Cup to stay in contention for a place at the WTA Finals.
After dropping a set for the first time in the tournament, Kontaveit turned the second set around from 4-0 down and mounted another comeback to win the decider with a break of serve when Alexandrova served for the match at 5-4 up.
“I’m still a little bit speechless,” Kontaveit said. “Congratulations to Ekaterina. You played such great tennis today.”
Playing in Moscow with a wild card, the Estonian won her third title on tour in as many months after winning the Cleveland Ladies Open in August and the Ostrava Open last month. On the women’s tour only top-ranked Ash Barty has won more than three titles this season, with five. Barbora Krejcikova also has three.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to achieve more today and I’m really very sad but I’m going to work on this and hope something like that won’t happen again next time,” Alexandrova said.
Next week either Kontaveit or Ons Jabeur can secure the last spot at the WTA Finals. Jabeur has a points lead, meaning Kontaveit would need to win the Transylvania Open in Romania and hope Jabeur does not reach the semifinals in Courmayeur, Italy.
Aslan Karatsev won the men’s tournament without dropping a set to deny Marin Cilic a third title in Moscow.
Karatsev saved the only break point he faced on his way to a 6-2, 6-4 win over Cilic. He is the third consecutive Russian winner of the tournament following Karen Khachanov in 2018 and Andrey Rublev in 2019. Last year’s Kremlin Cup was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s the second tour title for Karatsev in a breakout season which began with his surprise run to the Australian Open semifinals despite being in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. The 33-year-old Cilic was bidding to win a 20th career title and was the oldest men’s finalist in Kremlin Cup history.
PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.
An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.
The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.
The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.
Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.
That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.
After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.
“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”
PARIS — French Open debutant Peyton Stearns produced the biggest win of her career by defeating former champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round at Roland Garros.
Stearns, a former player at the University of Texas, only turned professional in June last year.
Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open but has since failed to advance past the 3rd round. The 17th-seeded Latvian dropped her serve five times against Stearns and hit 28 unforced errors in her 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 loss.
The 21-year-old Stearns has been climbing the WTA rankings and entered the French Open at No. 69 on the back of an encouraging clay-court campaign.
Third-seeded Jessica Pegula also advanced after Camila Giorgi retired due to injury. The American led 6-2 when her Italian rival threw in the towel.
Only hours after husband Gael Monfils won a five-set thriller, Elina Svitolina rallied past qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
In the men’s bracket, former runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The fifth-seeded Greek was a bit slow to find his range and was made to work hard for two sets but rolled on after he won the tiebreaker.
No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 3 Novak Djokovic are on court later. Alcaraz meets Taro Daniel on Court Philippe Chatrier, where Djokovic will follow against Martin Fucsovics in the night session.