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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kafelnikov Continues on Title Path




Jeff Tarango of the United States pulled an upset over seventh-seeded Marc Rosset, and Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov took another step toward his third-straight Kremlin Cup title with a victory over Daniel Vacek at the Kremlin Cup on Friday.


Tarango downed Switzerland's Rosset 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in their quarterfinal matchup, while top-seed Kafelnikov won 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 over Vacek of the Czech Republic at Olimpiisky Sports Complex.


With his victory, Kafelnikov set up a semifinal match Saturday against the winner of Friday's late quarterfinal matchup between Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine and Nicolas Escude of France.


The world No. 2 Kafelnikov has won last two years in Russia's most prestigious tennis tournament.


Two-time champion Rosset, ranked No. 37 in the world, broke Tarango in the 11th game of the first set, firing 11 aces. Tarango, currently ranked No. 73 on the, saved a break point in the first game of the second set and beat Rosset on a tiebreaker.


"I went into this match thinking that I'd won three times against him outdoors and lost three times indoors, and the way he was serving I didn't think I had much chance to win.


"So, I just told myself to put all my energy into my own service game and try to hold and hope he gets tired physically and mentally. And he did," said Tarango.


Both traded serves early in the third set that saw long rallies. The Swiss, who fired 28 aces in the match, saved two break points before he double-faulted on a deuce in the seventh game and sent a forehand volley out to be broken and never be back in the match.


In the semifinals Saturday, Tarango will face Byron Black of Zimbabwe, who beat Fabrice Santoro of France in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 on Friday.


The tired Santoro double-faulted 10 times and never showed the strong serve-and-volley game that he had displayed earlier in the tournament.


"Byron is one of the best returners in the world and if you don't serve well, you have no chance to beat him," said Santoro following the match.


The winner of the $1 million tournament, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, wins $137,000 and 220 ATP Tour rankings points. The final will take place Sunday.