. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanisevic In Kremlin Cup Upset

Croatia's big-serving Goran Ivanisevic came from behind to beat the top-seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 Sunday, winning the seventh annual $1.15 million Kremlin Cup tournament.


Ivanisevic, as he accepted his trophy, put it all down to his new ponytail hairdo.


"Last year I shaved my head, lost in the first round and had my ears frozen," he said. "This time I decided to change my hair style and look what happened."


This was Ivanisevic's second attempt at Russia's ATP tournament.


Kafelnikov, who had a dismal two wins to six losses head-to-head record against Ivanisevic, jumped ahead in the first set after breaking his opponent's serve.


But Ivanisevic battled back in the second set, breaking the Russian twice and taking By card berth, took home $157,000 for his fifth 1996 title. Kafelnikov, ranked No. 3 in the world, pocketed $93,000. It was his second straight loss in a final in as many weeks.


Kafelnikov said the huge home crowd, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Mayor Yury Luzhkov, had put extra pressure on him.


"Sometimes it seems like I play better abroad than at home," said the Sochi native.


While the match started badly for Ivanisevic, he came back to win it in classic, hard-hitting form.


The Croat regained confidence in the second set and even loud whistling from the crowd at the Olimpiisky Sports Complex did not disturb his rhythm.


"I tried to block the crowd out of my mind," he said. "Sometimes I get upset but I kept my cool today."


Ivanisevic erased a break point in the second game of the third and final set by serving an ace with his second serve. He then proceeded to break Kafelnikov, taking the lead for good and winning the match with a smart cross-court return.


From the point of view of the Kremlin Cup organizers, the bonus was that they got Ivanisevic -- ranked No. 4 in the world -- virtually for free after spending much of their money to persuade Kafelnikov to play. "Goran was here last year and most of all he liked Russian girls, so he didn't cost us a dime," said Alexander Palinsky, director of the National Sports Fund, which bought the tournament from Swiss businessman Sassun Khakshuri.


The Kremlin Cup, which has increased its prize money nearly three-fold in just two years, attracts some top level players. But some of the big names appear to come to Moscow prepared to have a good time.


Third-seed American Jim Courier, for example, was spotted at one of Moscow's nightclubs in wee hours of one morning. He lost to Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands in the second round.