Top seed Youzhny faces Kukushkin in final
Russian top seed Mikhail Youzhny will face Mikhail Kukushkin in Sunday's Saint Petersburg Open final after beating compatriot Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8) here on Saturday.sports Updated: Oct 30, 2010 21:16 IST
Russian top seed Mikhail Youzhny will face Mikhail Kukushkin in Sunday's Saint Petersburg Open final after beating compatriot Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (10/8) here on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Youzhny, who is 10th in the world, was chalking up his second win over Tursunov in their third meeting, claiming the semi-final in three hours five minutes.
"It's alway tough to play Dima (Tursunov)," Youzhny said.
"Today I was just a little bit more lucky."
They both started cautiously, keeping their serves until the 11th game, when Youzhny, who is seeking his third title of the year, broke for a one-set lead after one hour 10 minutes.
Tursunov, who is 264th in the world, broke Youzhny's serve early in the second set for a 3-0 lead, but Youzhny broke back in the fifth game to level at 3-3.
However, Tursunov broke again in the 10th game to level at one set all after two hours eight minutes on court.
No big serves were produced in the deciding set, which went to a tiebreak, which Youzhny won to make his fifth final of the year.
In the early semi-final Kukushkin of Kazakhstan ousted Ukraine's Ilya Marchenko in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 in one hour 34 minutes to record his win in their first ever head-to-head meeting.
The 22-year-old Kukushkin came into the match at full confidence breaking early to clinch a comfortable 3-0 lead, which he kept through to take the opening set in 46 minutes.
In the second the rivals were trading breaks but Kukushkin, who is currently 88th in the ATP rankings, was slightly more accurate to win the set and the match and a place in his first ATP final of the year.
"The result of the match wasn't clear until the very last point as Ilya (Marchenko) was battling tough for every single point," Kukushkin said.
"I'm satisfied with my playing here and happy to reach the final. I'm in good form and hope to perform at my best tomorrow."