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Gasquet Makes Move With Moscow Win

Moscow, Russia

Gasquet© AFP/Getty ImagesRichard Gasquet won his third ATP World Tour title of the season.

Richard Gasquet moved to No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London after winning his third ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday in Moscow. The Frenchman leapfrogged countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after defeating Mikhail Kukushkin 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a tense Kremlin Cup final, gaining a net total of 160 points.

The 27-year-old Gasquet is bidding to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time since 2007, when the season finale was staged in Shanghai. Following Andy Murray’s withdrawal, the player in ninth position in the standings at the end of the regular season will claim the final berth in the elite eight-man field at The O2 in London.

"I’ll try my best to qualify," said Gasquet. "Two big tournaments are coming up, including [the ATP World Tour Masters 1000] in Paris. I’ll try my best. I was close to losing today. But I fought a lot. It’s important for me to qualify for it. But the title here is important for me because my opponent played very well."

Gasquet nearly missed his chance against qualifier Kukushkin. The Kazakh won the first set and looked to have the decisive service break in the decider when he converted his fourth opportunity to go up 4-3. Gasquet steeled himself, though, and won the final three games to claim the clutch victory in two hours and 24 minutes.

"He won a lot matches recently and won Challengers," said Gasquet of his opponent. "He won seven matches here. He won against big players. For sure, I knew it would be tough because his shots are flat and very strong and he doesn’t miss much and serves well. I knew it would be a big fight for me if I wanted to win. It is a big win for me to win in three sets."

Watch Moscow Final Highlights

It is the first time since 2006 that Gasquet has won three titles in a season. He also triumphed at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (d. Davydenko) and the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Paire). 

The right-hander has enjoyed his best season on tour since 2007, reaching the US Open semi-finals (l. to Nadal) and the last four in Miami (l. to Murray), Halle (l. to Youzhny), Bangkok (l. to Raonic) and Beijing (l. to Djokovic). He has a 48-18 match record and is two wins away from reaching the 50 match wins milestone for the first time in his career.

World No. 102 Kukushkin was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, with both coming on Russian soil after he won the St. Petersburg Open title three years ago (d. Youzhny). The 25 year old has won three ATP Challenger Tour titles from five finals this year and carried his good form into Moscow, upsetting defending champion Andreas Seppi in the semi-finals and fourth seed Alexandr Dolgopolov in the second round.

After seeing his Emirates ATP Ranking fall to outside the Top 300 in June, Kukushkin is now projected to return to the Top 70.

Challenger Tour Finals Spotlight: Mikhail Kukushkin

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