Top-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet battled back from a set down to win his third title of the year, beating Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin in their Kremlin Cup men’s final in Moscow on Sunday.
Gasquet, who is ranked 10th in the world, won in a tight three-setter 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours, 23 minutes to record his second win over Kukushkin in as many meetings.
Gasquet and Kukushkin both looked focused from the start, holding their serves until the seventh game, when the 25-year-old Kazakh broke to take the opening set in 43 minutes.
In the second, Gasquet, who is trying to secure one of four remaining spots in the ATP World Tour Finals, broke twice to level at 1-1 after 1 hour, 26 minutes on court, while Kukushkin broke back once.
No big serves were made in the deciding set before the seventh game when Kukushkin, who is 102 in the ATP rankings, broke. However, Gasquet maintained his grip to take three consecutive games, the set and the match.
With that win, Gasquet leapfrogged compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the ATP Race To London to become the second French winner of the Kremlin Cup after Paul-Henri Mathieu, who won in 2002.
At the awards ceremony, Gasquet praised the public for their support and promised to come back next year to defend his title.
“It was an incredible week for me and now I have great memories about playing here,” he said. “I really enjoyed my performance in Moscow and I want to come back here next year to defend my title.”
“It is one of the most successful seasons in my career, but the race for a place in London is not over yet and I now need to concentrate on my further playing to get there,” Gasquet added.