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.