Kafelnikov faces Black in final

Byron Black of Zimbabwe moved into his second final this year after beating Jeff Tarango of the United States, and Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov advanced after outplaying France's Nicolas Escude on Saturday in the semi-finals of the $1 million Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Byron Black of Zimbabwe moved into his second final this year after beating Jeff Tarango of the United States, and Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov advanced after outplaying France's Nicolas Escude on Saturday in the semi-finals of the $1 million Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Top-seeded Kafelnikov defeated Escude 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to reach his fourth consecutive Kremlin Cup final. Black defeated Tarango 6-3, 6-2.

"I was not very confident at the beginning of the match and gave my opponent a chance to believe in himself, and that made the match so tough," said Kafelnikov, who is the defending champion and world No 2.

Escude put pressure on Kafelnikov in the first set and was close to breaking him in the ninth game when the Russian saved a break point with a deep forehand. The hard-serving Escude won the set on a tiebreaker.

In the second set, supported by a sellout crowd of 15,000 at Moscow's Olympisky Stadium, Kafelnikov improved his serve to turn the match.

"I felt I had a chance, but everything changed in the the second set. Kafelnikov was playing better and better," Escude said.

In the other semi-final, Zimbabwe's Black broke the American in the sixth game en route to winning 6-3, 6-2.

"I knew before I even went into the match I could beat him if I just keep playing the way I'm playing," said the 30-year-old Black, who won his second career ATP Tour singles title earlier this year.

Tarango called for a doctor in the second set and said he wasn't 100 percent.

"I reacted badly and I moved slowly and my left hip bothered me," said the American, who staged two upsets in the tournament, eliminating his countryman and second-seeded Vincent Spadea in the first round and former two-time champion Marc Rosset of Switzerland, seeded seventh, in a tough three-setter Friday.

In doubles semi-final play on Saturday, Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev and Marat Safin of Russia beat Martin Damm of the Czech Republic and Belarusian Max Mirny, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

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