Jabeur becomes first Tunisian woman to make WTA final

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Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final in Moscow.

MOSCOW — Ons Jabeur made history on Friday when she became the first Tunisian woman to reach a WTA final by seeing off Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Jabeur, ranked 101st in the world and who came through qualifying, prevailed in one hour 37 minutes.

"This is really amazing and I'm really happy. I gave it all today, and it wasn't easy because she plays really good," said 24-year-old Jabeur, who unleashed 45 winners on her way to victory.

"Maybe I was too relaxed in the second set. At the end, I stayed calm. It was a little bit frustrating because I missed some easy balls, but I said I was just going to play my game, and if it goes, it goes."

In Saturday's final, Jabeur will face sixth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia, last year's runner-up, who put out Britain's Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-3.

"They're both playing good, so I hope they fight for four hours," Jabeur said. "The best win is that there is a Tunisian in the final."

Jabeur lost her only career meeting against Kasatkina at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Kyrgios calls time on

Season due to injury

Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios called time on his season Thursday after an elbow injury forced him out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The world No. 37, who had been playing on a wild card in Russia, said he was heading home to prepare for the 2019 campaign.

"It's very unfortunate dealing with an ongoing elbow injury I dealt with at the start of the season," 23-year-old Kyrgios said in a statement.

"It kept me out for a month or two. It started to bother me a little bit this week so I'm going to wrap up my season, head home and start the recovery. See you all in 2019."

Kyrgios's injury meant that Bosnia's Mirza Basic got a free pass into the quarterfinals where he will take on Russian third seed Karen Khachanov.

Kyrgios has endured another roller-coaster season. He captured a fourth career title in Brisbane in January before missing two months of the campaign, including the French Open, in the spring.

At the US Open, a perceived lack of effort led to umpire Mohamed Lahyani controversially coming down from his chair to give advice to the unpredictable Australian. In Shanghai last week, he lost in the first round to American qualifier Bradley Klahn, the world No. 104, with a performance which again sparked questions over his commitment.

Kyrgios has also lost his status as Australian No. 1 to 19-year-old Alex de Minaur.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev cruised into the Moscow quarterfinals with a straight-sets win over Serbia's Dusan Lajovic.

Medvedev, 22, who has won three ATP titles this year to reach a career-high ranking of 21, swept to a 6-2, 6-1 win in under an hour. "It's my first professional tournament where I've got the opening-round bye," Medvedev said.

"That's why I was slightly nervous in the beginning. Luckily, I took myself under control quickly and gave him (Lajovic) only three games. In general I'm pleased."

Medvedev will next meet last year's runner-up Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania. Serbian fourth seed Filip Krajinovic also advanced to the last eight with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy and next plays Italian veteran Andreas Seppi. — AFP


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