MOSCOW, -- Anett Kontaveit and Ekaterina Alexandrova will meet in the Kremlin Cup final after Maria Sakkari, who retired on Saturday from her semifinal match against Alexandrova.
Sakkari was 4-1 down in the first set when Sakkari retired. Tournament organizers claimed she was dizzy.
Sakkari, ranked seventh in the World, has been selected to the season-ending WTA Finals earlier in the week. She reached the quarterfinals at Moscow.
Alexandrova reached her first tour level final since she won the Shenzhen Open in Jan 2020. She has a 1-1 record in finals.
Kontaveit will be trying to win her third title in three months, after defeating Marketa Vondrousova, 6-3, and 6-4, in the semifinal match. While the Estonian was in a strong lead in both sets, Kontaveit took her time to close the match on the fourth match point.
Kontaveit's finals record is 3-6. One other title was shared when the finals of this year's Grampians Trophy were canceled due to schedule issues caused by pandemic restrictions. At last year's Ostrava Open, she defeated Alexandrova in her previous match.
Aslan Karatsev, a Russian player, reached the third final of the breakout 2021 season, beating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7) and 6-1. He will now face Marin Cilic, a two-time Kremlin Cup champion, for the title. As he overturned a 6-3 deficit, Karatsev saved 4 set points in the tiebreaker.
Karatsev began the season by reaching the Australian Open semifinals in his Grand Slam debut. He then went on to win the Dubai Open title and the Serbia Open runner up in March. Since then, he has not reached the final.
After a breakdown in the second set, Cilic won the tournament in 2014, '15 and reached the semifinal match against Ricardas Berrankis 6-3, 6-1.