One of the final tennis tournaments of the year was a good one as Richard Gasquet and Simona Halep each earned titles at the Kremlin Cup.
Both draws featured plenty of upsets, despite the fact that Gasquet was able to win as the top seed on the men's side. In fact, the French player did not face a single seeded player in the entire tournament.
Still, he received enough of a challenge from lesser-known competitors like Mikhail Kukushkin, who made it all the way to the finals.
On the women's side, top seeds Roberta Vinci, Maria Kirilenko and Ana Ivanovic all went down before the semifinals. This allowed Halep to play her way to her fifth title of the year with a win over Samantha Stosur in the finals.
There was a lot of action throughout the tournament, so follow along for a daily recap of the entire event.
Top Men's Seeds
No. 1 Richard Gasquet, France
No. 2 Andreas Seppi, Italy
No. 3 Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia
No. 4 Alexandr Dolgopolov, Ukraine
No. 5 Denis Istomin, Uzbekistan
Top Women's Seeds
No. 1 Angelique Kerber, Germany (scratched)
No. 2 Roberta Vinci, Italy
No. 3 Maria Kirilenko, Russia
No. 4 Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
No. 5 Simona Halep, Romania
Men's Day 1 Scores
Horacio Zeballos (6) def. Ricardas Berankis; 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
Sergiy Stakhovsky def. Joao Sousa (7); 6-4, 6-3
Karen Khachanov def. Albert Ramos; 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
Edouard Roger-Vasselin def. Jiri Vesely; 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3
The highest seed in action was No. 6 Horacio Zeballos, who got off to a rocky start in dropping the opening set to Ricardas Berankis before cruising in the next two to avert a disappointing first-round exit.
But the big story was an upset by Sergiy Stakhovsky over seventh-seeded Joao Sousa, who had just won his first career ATP title at the Malaysian Open.
Stakhovsky is no slouch, though, which was evident on Monday and also when he beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon earlier this season. The Ukrainian international won 45 percent of first return points, which helped him break Sousa four times in the match.
The other two men's matches went to the maximum of three sets, with one of them featuring 17-year-old Karen Khachanov topping Spaniard Albert Ramos.
To cap the day off, Edouard Roger-Vasselin overcame a second-set tiebreaker loss to defeat Jiri Vesely in three sets.
Women's Day 1 Scores
Svetlana Kuznetsova (8) def. Lesia Tsurenko; 7-5, 6-2
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. Caroline Garcia; 6-0, 6-3
Alize Cornet def. Elina Svitolina; 7-5, 6-2
Alisa Kleybanova def. Varvara Lepchenko; 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4
Another prominent local in Svetlana Kuznetsova took care of business in her opening-round showdown with Lesia Tsurenko. Kuznetsova struggled on serve to an extent, but broke her opponent six times and won over half of her first return points.
A breezy two-set victory was also the case for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who didn't drop a game against Caroline Garcia in the first set and rode that momentum to an easy win.
Alize Cornet overcame six double faults against four aces and hitting only 56 percent of her first serves in by taking advantage of five of eight break point chances in ousting Elina Svitolina.
A rather substantial upset occurred when No. 254-ranked Alisa Kleybanova knocked off Varvara Lepchenko, who is ranked 56th in the singles rankings.
The Russian wild card Kleybanova dropped a first-set tiebreak, but hung tough and pulled out the final two sets by a single break apiece.
Men's Day 2 Scores
Evgeny Donskoy def Marcos Baghdatis; 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Andrey Golubev def. Oleksandr Nedovyesov; 6-2, 7-5
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Alex Bogomolov Jr.; 6-4, 6-1
Paolo Lorenzi def. Filippo Volandri; 3-6, 7-5, 4-1 (retired)
Dudi Sela def. Aslan Karatsev; 6-4, 6-3
2010 finalist Marcos Baghdatis suffered a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of native Russian Evgeny Donskoy in three sets. What really crushed Baghdatis was a first-serve percentage of 48 in both the first and third sets, as opposed to 66 percent in the second set, which he won.
It marked the former world No. 8 Baghdatis' 14th first-round loss of 2013, per ATPWorldTour.com. Donskoy moves on to face No. 1 seed Richard Gasquet.
In a battle of Italian compatriots, Filippo Volandri won the first set against Paolo Lorenzi.
Unfortunately, after having played a shade over two hours, losing the second set and trailing 1-4 in the deciding third, Volandri had to retire due to an apparent right quad strain.
It was a nice day to be a qualifier on the men's side, as Mikhail Kukushkin breezed by Alex Bogomolov Jr. in straight sets, while Andrey Golubev defeated fellow wild card Oleksandr Nedovyesov in two sets as well.
That small trend ended on the final match of the day, when Aslan Karatsev fell to Dudi Sela 6-4, 6-3.
Women's Day 2 Scores
Carla Suarez Navarro (6) def. Vera Dushevina; 6-4, 6-3
Vesna Dolonc def. Dominika Cibulkova (9); 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Daniela Hantuchova def. Arantxa Parra Santonja; 6-1, 6-2
Magdalena Rybarikova def. Ksenia Pervak; 7-5, 6-2
Klara Zakopalova def. Danka Kovinic; 6-4, 6-3
Sofia Arvidsson def. Galina Voskoboeva; 0-6, 6-1, 6-3
Elena Vesnina def. Yaroslava Shvedova; 6-1, 6-2
Two of the women's top nine seeds took to the courts on Tuesday, but only one came away unscathed.
While No. 6 seed Carla Suarez Navarro met little resistance in a two-set triumph over Vera Dushevina, ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova squandered a one-set lead in being eliminated by Vesna Dolonc.
Cibulkova was a victim of magnificent serving from the upstart qualifier Dolonc, who won 19 of her 20 first-serve points in the third set. It only took one break point for Dolonc in the final set to capitalize and gain enough separation to close out her favored opponent.
There wasn't much drama in the remainder of the matches, save for when Sofia Arvidsson shook off losing the opening set at love to cruise past Galina Voskoboeva 6-1, 6-3 in the last two.
The win earns Arvidsson the right to face Svetlana Kuznetsova—a two-time Grand Slam tournament winner—in Round 2.
Men's Day 3 Scores
Karen Khachanov def. No. 3 Janko Tipsarevic; 6-4, 6-4
Andredy Golubev def. No. 6 Horacio Zeballos; 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 Andreas Seppi def. Paolo Lorenzi; 6-3, 6-2
Ivo Karlovic def. Denis Kudla; 6-2, 6-3
Edouard Roger-Vasselin def. Sergiy Stakhovsky; 7-5, 7-5
Teymuraz Gabashvili def. No. 8 Adrian Mannarino; 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 5 Denis Istomin def. Andrey Kuznetsov; 6-0, 2-6, 6-1
It was not a good day for seeded players. While No. 2 seed Seppi and No. 5 Istomin survived, No. 3 Tipsarevic, No. 6 Zeballos and No. 8 Mannarino all fell.
Tipsarevic's performance was especially disappointing, as he was smoked by 14 Khachanov aces and never so much as forced a break point. Not the performance you would expect from one of the better players in this tournament.
No. 2 Seppi rolled, however, winning 20 of his 22 first-serve points and 18 of his 24 second-serve points. Suffice to say, he had little problem controlling this match with his service play.
Mannarino looked in control of the first set, but Gabashvili calmly regained his composure and broke Mannarino once in each of the following sets. It wasn't easy—he needed 17 chances to win his two break points, but he got there nonetheless.
Women's Day 3 Scores
No. 2 Roberta Vinci def. Elena Vesnina; 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def. No. 3 Maria Kirilenko; 6-3, 6-3
Alisa Kleybanova def. No. 6 Carla Suarez Navarro; 7-6, 6-4
Svetlana Kuznetsova def. Sofia Arvidsson; 6-2, 7-5
No. 7 Sam Stosur def. Kaia Kanepi; 6-3, 6-1
Two seeded players survived, while two bit the dust on Wednesday. No. 2 Vinci was able to survive a miserable first set and largely cruise the rest of the way, while the proceedings were never in doubt for Stosur.
Kirilenko could never get her service game going, winning just 58 percent of her first-service points and 45 percent of her second-service points. She only created two break points, winning just one. It was a performance to forget.
Suarez Navarro at least played well, forcing a first-set tiebreaker and forcing nine break points. Unfortunately, she could only win two of them and, worse, allowed Kleybanova to win three of the eight break points she forced.
That was the difference, folks. Sometimes, it's that small.
Men's Day 4 Scores
Teymuraz Gabashvili def. Dudi Sela; 6-1, 6-7, 6-1
No. 1 Richard Gasquet def. Evgeny Donskoy; 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Ivo Karlovic def. No. 5 Denis Istomin; 6-3, 6-7, 7-6
Mikhail Kukushkin def. No. 4 Alexandr Dolgopolov; 6-4, 6-4
Gasquet, the tournament's top seed, needed three sets before managing to survive against Russian rising star Donskoy. He was more fortunate than his fellow seeds who played on Thursday as Istomin and Dolgopolov both fell to unseeded foes.
Karlovic is always a dangerous player when he's playing well, which has been the case in the early going of the Kremlin Cup. Gabashvili is another player who's already exceeded expectations in the event, but he'll go up against Gasquet the next time out.
Women's Day 4 Scores
No. 7 Samantha Stosur def. Alize Cornet; 6-4, 6-1
No. 4 Ana Ivanovic def. Klara Zakopalova; 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 Simona Halep def. Magdalena Rybarikova; 6-2, ret.
Daniela Hantuchova def. Vesna Dolonc; 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
The seeded players on the women's side fared better than their male counterparts. Ivanovic, who's still seeking a return to top form after a couple up-and-down seasons, and Stosur both breezed through their respective matches in straight sets.
Halep was one her way to a convincing victory as well, but the match stopped after the first set when Rybarikova retired. Hantuchova also moved on, but only after a match that went the distance against Dolonc, who upset Dominika Cibulkova in her previous match.
Men's Day 5 Scores
No. 1 Richard Gasquet def. Teymuraz Gabashvili; 6-3, 6-2
Ivo Karlovic def. Karen Khachanov; 6-4, 6-0
Mikhail Kukushkin def. Andredy Golubev; 6-4, 7-6
No. 2 Andreas Seppi def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin; 5-2, Retired.
The tournament’s top two seeds advanced to the semifinals on Friday, with Richard Gasquet handily defeating Teymuraz Gabshvili to set up a clash with Ivo Karlovic. Karlovic defeated his teenage opponent Karen Khachanov in straight sets to move on.
Andreas Seppi waltzed to the next round, as his opponent—Edouard Roger-Vasselin—retired with a strained neck after falling behind 5-2 in the first set. The Italian star will battle Mikhail Kukushkin for the right to advance to the finals. Kukushkin had to gut out a tough second set to knock off Golubev.
The Kremlin Cup should certainly have an interesting finish, with plenty of opportunity for both the upset to happen and favorite to prevail.
Women's Day 5 Scores
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova def Daniela Hantuchova; 6-0, 6-4
No. 5 Simona Halep def. Alisa Kleybanova; 6-1, 6-1
No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova def. No. 2 Roberta Vinci; 6-2, 6-3
No. 7 Sam Stosur def. No. 4 Ana Ivanovic; 7-5, 6-4
The women’s bracket at the 2013 Kremlin Cup was ripe with upset on Friday, as two underdogs prevailed in the quarterfinals.
Svetlana Kuznetsova outperformed her No. 8 seeding to drop the second-seeded Roberta Vinci in straight sets. The two-time Grand Slam champion played well and was simply the better competitor throughout the match.
Samantha Stosur continued her unbeaten run, as the No. 7 seeded Australian dropped No. 4 seed and former World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in straight sets. Stosur hasn’t lost in eight matches and will look to extend that stretch against Kuznetsova in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova dropped Daniela Hantuchova and No. 5 seed Simona Halep defeated Alisa Kleybanova to set up a semifinal clash.
Men's Day 6 Scores
No. 1 Richard Gasquet def. Ivo Karlovic; 6-4, 7-5
Mikhail Kukushkin def. No. 2 Andreas Seppi; 6-1, 1-6, 6-4
Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin's incredible journey will continue into Sunday's men's final at the Kremlin Cup after he shocked defending tournament champion Andreas Seppi in three sets on Saturday.
Kukushkin was broken five times in the match, but was able to break the second-seeded Italian half a dozen times, including four times in the final set. The 25-year-old will take aim at his second career ATP singles title on Sunday.
Standing in Kukushkin's way will be top-seeded Richard Gasquet, who took out Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in straight sets in Saturday's other semifinal. The Frenchman survived 15 aces from Karlovic and capitalized on both of his break-point chances to earn his first-ever Kremlin Cup final berth.
Women's Day 6 Scores
No. 7 Samantha Stosur def. No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova; 6-2, 6-4
No. 5 Simona Halep def. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova; 6-2, 6-1
Seventh-seeded Aussie Samantha Stosur earned a trip to the Kremlin Cup final for the second straight year on Saturday, disposing of eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova easily in straight sets.
Both players struggled on their second serve, double faulting seven times each. But it was Stosur who took advantage more often of her opponent's shaky serve, winning 60 percent of her total return points for the match.
In Day 6's second women's semifinal, fifth-seeded Simona Halep defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets to reach her first-ever Kremlin Cup final. Halep broke the 22-year-old Russian six times over the course of the match and saved three of four break points on her own serve.
Halep will look to win her fifth singles tournament of the year on Sunday while Stosur will attempt to avenge her 2012 final loss in Moscow.
Men's Day 7 Scores
No. 1 Richard Gasquet def. Mikhail Kukushkin; 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
The Cinderella run by Mikhail Kukushkin came to an end as the unseeded player was unable to close out Richard Gasquet in the final.
There was some great serving performances on display in Sunday's matchup as the two players combined for 27 aces and only two double faults. However, Kukushkin struggled with his accuracy in the final two sets and it cost him.
Gasquet earned two breaks in each of the last two sets to narrowly escape the battle and win his third tournament of the year and first since February.
Kukushkin should be proud of a run to the final with impressive wins over Andreas Seppi and Alexandr Dolgopolov. However, he finishes one set short of his first title since 2010.
Women's Day 7 Scores
No. 5 Simona Halep def. No. 7 Samantha Stosur; 7-6(1), 6-2
Simona Halep continued her incredible 2013 season with her five WTA title of the year. Although the Romanian has been inconsistent for week to week, she showed with this performance that she is incredibly tough to beat when playing well.
Samantha Stosur held on by a thread in the first set, winning an incredible 11 of her 12 break points faced. Unfortunately, this was not enough in the tiebreak and she dropped the first set.
Halep then dominated the second set to close things out and secure the title.
The most notable statistic in the match came on second serves. Halep only had 17 attempts and won 12 points, while Stosur went 10-for-40 in this category. This was a big divider in what turned out to be an easy victory for the No. 5 seed.