Troicki, Azarenka win Kremlin Cup titles
Moscow: Unseeded Serbian Viktor Troicki upset fourth-seeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the Kremlin Cup final to clinch his maiden title on Sunday.
Earlier, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat her Russian doubles partner Maria Kirilenko 6-3 6-4 in the women`s showpiece for her second crown of the year.
Baghdatis, making his Moscow debut, won the first set but the 24-year-old Troicki looked the better and fitter player for the next two sets and prevailed after nearly two hours for his second win over the Cypriot in two matches.
It was an emotional victory for Troicki but he had little time to savour it as he was due to play the doubles final with compatriot Janko Tipsarevic against Russian duo of Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov later on Sunday.
"This is just unbelievable for me," world-ranked 43 Troicki told the crowd at the Olympiisky stadium.
"It`s my first win and it was especially great to achieve it here in Moscow as my father is half-Russian."
In the women`s event, second seed Azarenka broke Kirilenko three times in the opening set. It was the first set conceded all week by the sixth-seeded Muscovite who had dropped only nine games in her previous four matches here.
Kirilenko, cheered on by a sparse crowd at the spacious indoor arena, returned the favour by breaking the more powerful Belarussian twice at the start of the second to take a 4-0 lead.
But the world number 10 battled back to reel off six straight games and clinch her fifth career title.
"This is a really big victory for me," the 21-year-old, who will take home more than $157,000 for her efforts in Moscow, told reporters.
"Winning a tournament gives you great confidence, but it was especially important to do it here ahead of (the season-ending WTA championships in) Doha."
Azarenka, who also triumphed in Stanford in July, had already secured her place in Doha, which starts on Tuesday, when American Serena Williams pulled out with a foot injury last week.
Azarenka and Kirilenko also teamed up in doubles here, reaching the semi-finals.
"It`s not easy to play against your doubles partner," Azarenka said.
"After winning the first set, I became very passive at the start of the second, enabling Maria to take control. But then I got mad with myself and started playing much better."
Despite Sunday`s defeat, the 24th-ranked Kirilenko will return to the world`s top 20 when the new WTA rankings are published on Monday.
"It was a good week for me, I just lost to a better player today," said the runner-up, who pocketed $85,000.
"I haven`t done too well here in the past but this year I`ve been in good shape and I`m not surprised by reaching the final."
The annual Kremlin Cup ATP and WTA tournament was hit by withdrawals of several high-profile players, particularly on the women`s side.
Home favourites Vera Zvonareva, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova as well as Italy`s 2009 champion Francesca Schiavone all pulled out in the run-up to the event.