Aslan Karatsev and Marin Cilic are through to the title clash at the ATP 250 event in Moscow. In an all-Russian encounter, Karatsev took down Karen Khachanov 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 40 minutes for a place in the third ATP final, all in 2021.
Karen played better behind the first serve but lost ground once he missed it, taking only eight points behind the second serve and getting broken three times. Karatsev prevailed in the opening set's tie break and dominated the second to cross the finish line and remain on the title course.
Aslan blasted a forehand winner in the opening game for an early break and got broken in the next one when his forehand landed wide. Serving at 4-4, Karen fended off two break chances and held at love at 5-5 to secure a tie break.
Khachanov led 4-1 and 6-3, earning three set points and squandering them to keep Karatsev in contention. Aslan saved the fourth set point at 6-7 and claimed the breaker 9-7 after Karen's double fault.
Marin Cilic and Aslan Karatsev will determine the champion in Moscow.
The 2nd seed broke again at 1-0 in set number two and held at 30 with a service winner to open a 4-1 gap.
Losing ground completely, Karen got broken at love in game six, and Aslan held in the next one with a volley winner after fending off a break chance to advance into the final. The 6th seed Marin Cilic is through to his 34th ATP final after a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ricardas Berankis in an hour and 33 minutes.
Berankis advanced into the main draw as a lucky loser and reached the first semi-final since Pune in February last year, playing well this week but standing no chance against the Croat. Marin fended off five out of six break points and secured three breaks from eight opportunities to control the scoreboard and stay in contention for the third Moscow title.
Cilic saved break points in the encounter's opening game and grabbed a break in the next one after Berankis' forehand mistake. Marin served well by the end of the season and secured it with a hold in game nine after a service winner.
Ricardas forged an early advantage in the second set before Marin erased it in the next game to get back on the positive side. From 4-3 down, the Croat won three straight games to emerge at the top, breaking his rival in the ninth game and fending off two break chances in the next one to celebrate the win after an easy volley at the net.