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Anett Kontaveit, who’s into the Moscow final, has now won 20 of her last 22 matches
She faces Ekaterina Alexandrova in the women's final in Moscow. Marin Cilic plays Aslan Karatsev in the men's.
Published Oct 23, 2021
Anett Kontaveit held off a late surge from Marketa Vondrousova on Saturday to reach the final of the WTA 500 event in Moscow—her fifth final of the year, and her third in her last six tournaments.
Kontaveit powered to a 6-3, 5-2 lead against Vondrousova before the Czech—who had already taken out Top 20 players Elena Rybakina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova earlier in the week—closed the second set gap to 5-4. But the No. 20-ranked Estonian closed it out in the next game, 6-3, 6-4.
It’s been a phenomenal few months for Kontaveit, who has now won 20 of her last 22 matches, a stretch highlighted by winning the WTA 250 event in Cleveland the week before the US Open and another WTA 500 indoor event in Ostrava, Czech Republic in September. Her only two losses in the last two months came to Iga Swiatek (in the third round of the US Open) and to Ons Jabeur (in the quarterfinals of Indian Wells).
Awaiting her in the Moscow final will be Ekaterina Alexandrova, who advanced past Maria Sakkari in their semifinal match when the Greek had to retire down 4-1 in the first set due to dizziness.
Sakkari had won all three of the pair’s previous meetings, although they hadn’t met in more than two years, since San Jose in 2019.
Alexandrova has now taken out three Top 10 players this week, though No. 7 Sakkari was the second by retirement—No. 8-ranked Jabeur stopped against Alexandrova down 6-1, 1-0 in the first round due to a right elbow injury. The Russian did beat No. 2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-4.
The other Top 10 player in the field, No. 5-ranked Garbine Muguruza, was steamrolled by Kontaveit in the quarterfinals, 6-1, 6-1.
Kontaveit is a win away from her fourth and equal-biggest career WTA title, having won one WTA 500 (2021 Ostrava) and two WTA 250s (2017 ’s-Hertogenbosch and 2021 Cleveland). She’ll also be going for her 40th win of the year (she’s 39-15 going into the final).
Alexandrova is going for the biggest title of her career, her only previous WTA title coming at a WTA 250 (2020 Shenzhen). This is already the biggest final of her career.
The two have met once before, and it was on an indoor hardcourt, with Kontaveit barely winning in the first round of Ostrava last fall, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6). Alexandrova led 5-2 in the third set of that match and also had double match point up 6-4 in the third set tie-break.
Later in the day, Aslan Karatsev and Marin Cilic moved through to the men’s final—Moscow is also an ATP 250 event this week.
Cilic was the first to book his spot in the title match, beating Ricardas Berankis, 6-3, 6-4. Karatsev followed him into the final with a 7-6 (7), 6-1 win over fellow Russian Karen Khachanov.
The two have played once before, with Cilic beating Karatsev in the first round of the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati this summer, 7-5, 6-3.
Cilic will be going for his 20th career ATP title, and third in Moscow—he won here in 2014 and 2015. Karatsev will be going for his second career ATP title, having conquered Dubai earlier this year.