WTA Tour

Pavlyuchenkova, Kuznetsova in Moscow final

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (File)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (File)

Moscow - Defending Kremlin Cup champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova battled back from a set down to beat compatriot Daria Kasatkina on Friday to set up an all-Russian final with Svetlana Kuznetsova.

At the ATP and WTA combined event Pavlyuchenkova, who is seeking her season's second and career ninth title, won 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in her first ever meeting with the 18-year-old qualifier in two hours.

Kasatkina, 102nd in the WTA rankings, dominated the play from the start, while Pavlyuchenkova, who won last week in Linz, Austria, looked visibly tired.

After taking the opening set in 39 minutes, Kasatkina suddenly lost her nerve allowing Pavlyuchenkova to pull the scores level at one set all after one hour 17 minutes on court.

In the deciding set, Pavlyuchenkova pulled away into a commanding 5-1 lead, which allowed her to secure her place in Saturday's match for the title.

"There were difficulties with everything. Even to be on the court was hard," Pavlyuchenkova said.

"My condition was really bad today. I didn't have strength or energy or even really very much desire, to be honest.

"But I hope I will manage to recover for the final as I want to show my top tennis on Saturday."

In the other semi-final, Russia's two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova saw off Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

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