In a match which ended with both players on their knees after the final point, sixth seed Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation beat Tunisian qualifier Ons Jabeur in a tough three-setter to win the Kremlin Cup on Saturday.
Jabeur, the 2011 junior champion at the French Open, beat Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 3-6 6-3 in the semifinals.
Jabeur was a set and a break up at 4-1 when she seemed to tire in her eighth match in as many days, allowing Kasatkina to win 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 with vocal support from the home crowd.
Jabeur, who prior to this week had never won more than two consecutive matches at a WTA event, is projected to break into Top 70 for the first time. "It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes". "I just focus on my matches, so I just play tennis and I leave the rest up to everyone that I trust". I haven't really thought about changing my personality.
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The 101st-ranked Jabeur is now guaranteed to surpass the previous best ranking by a woman from an Arab country.
On Saturday, Daria Kasatkina won many a heart both on and off the court. Jabeur followed up by beating former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and Anett Kontaveit.
Since winning her first final in April 2017, Kasatkina has lost three in a row, including at last year's Kremlin Cup.
Jabeur said she was pleased with her performance and promised to come back to Moscow next year. "He's really into tennis and sport".
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Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation beat last year's runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 will face third-seeded compatriot Karen Khachanov, who saw off Mirza Basic of Bosnia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5). The Italian veteran upset fourth-seeded Filip Krajinovic of Serbia 6-4, 7-6 (2).
In the last 8, she overcame compatriot Pavlyuchenkova, whom she also beat on her way to last year's final, then she hit 28 winners and only 20 unforced errors to defeat Konta in the semifinals, sealing her 40th main draw win of the season.
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