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Gasquet advances, Seppi dethroned in Moscow

Moscow, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Top seed Richard Gasquet advanced to the final of the Kremlin Cup with a semifinal win Saturday, but second-seeded Andreas Seppi came up short in defense of his title.

Gasquet claimed a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in the second semifinal after Kazakhstan qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin dethroned Seppi, the 2012 champion, in the opener with a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 triumph.

Seppi fell to 0-5 in semifinal action this year. He hasn't reached a final since winning this title last year.

After a disastrous first set, the Italian rallied with a pair of breaks in the second and began the third with another break. Kukushkin, though, ran off the next four games to again establish control and completed the upset to reach his second career ATP final.

Ranked 102nd in the world, Kukushkin had only qualified for four previous main draws this year and lost in the first round in each of his three events before a third-round appearance at the U.S. Open. This is his first tournament since Flushing Meadows.

Kukushkin's only other final came three years ago, also in Russia. He picked up his first career title with a victory over Mikhail Youzhny in St. Petersburg.

Gasquet, meanwhile, will carry a finals record of 9-10 into Sunday's match. He is 2-0 this year, winning in Doha to start the season and in Montpellier in February.

The 10th-ranked Frenchman is still in contention for one of the remaining four berths in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. He was coming off a stunning first-round loss last week in Shanghai after consecutive semifinal appearances at the U.S. Open, Bangkok and Beijing.

Gasquet beat Kukushkin in their only previous meeting, a 6-3, 7-5 triumph in Toronto last year.

The 2013 Moscow titlist will collect $134,800.