No. 2 seed Aslan Karatsev tried to stay calm in the key moments of the first set tie-break and it paid off as he ended up claiming a 7-6 (7) 6-1 win over third-seeded Karen Khachanov to reach the Moscow final.
Karatsev blew an early break and he faced four set points in the tie-break but he stayed calm and focused and ended up winning a tight first set.
After winning a tight first set, Karatsev broke Khachanov twice in the second set to book a straight-set win.
“I tried to not think about the score in the tie-break and just play point by point,” Karatsev said in his on-court interview, per the ATP website. “At 5/6 I made a great return and he got nervous and that is how I managed to win it.”
Karatsev, 28, made his first Moscow final in his fifth main draw appearance at the tournament.
“It means the world to me [to reach the final]. I have been to this tournament many times, so this final I will play tomorrow will be special for me,” Karatsev added.
Karatsev set to play Marin Cilic for the Moscow title
Former world No. 3 Cilic reached the Moscow final following a straight-set win over Ricardas Berankis.
“It was a tough match, Ricardas played well,” Cilic said in his on-court interview. “The first set was great from my side. I served amazing but then Ricardas began to find his rhythm and played much better in the second set. I managed to play a tough second set. Mentally it was difficult, but I managed to play my best tennis at the right time.”
Cilic is set to play his third Moscow final.
“It is amazing to get this support and whatever happens tomorrow, it will be a great day to enjoy another final in my career and another final here in Moscow,” Cilic added.
It remains to be seen if Karatsev can beat Cilic and win it all in front of his home fans.