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Watch highlights as Pablo Carreno Busta beats Fabio Fognini to prevail at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Photo: VTB Kremlin Cup

Carreno Busta Beats Fognini For Moscow Crown

Spaniard wins second title of the season

Pablo Carreno Busta overcame injury and a set deficit to celebrate his second career ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The Spaniard outlasted Italian Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 inside Olympic Stadium.

Carreno Busta won nearly 70 per cent of his first-serve points and benefitted from six Fognini double faults in the one-hour and 56-minute final. He also padded his already impressive 2016 résumé.

The 25 year old has captured two ATP World Tour titles this season, having won the Winston-Salem Open crown in August (d. Bautista Agut). Carreno Busta finished runner-up on clay in Estoril and Sao Paulo. The Barcelona resident also became the third Spaniard to win two ATP World Tour titles this season, joining Rafael Nadal (Monte-Carlo, Barcelona) and Roberto Bautista Agut (Auckland, Sofia). Spanish players have won 10 titles this season, the most of any nation.

“When you win your first title, it's a really special one but this one is special also,” Carreno Busta said. “In both finals, I lost the first set. But then I continued fighting and I continued believing in myself, and at the end, I won the match and the tournament.”

 Player  2016 Title(s)
 Roberto Bautista Agut   Auckland, Sofia
 Pablo Carreno Busta  Winston-Salem, Moscow
 Rafael Nadal    Monte-Carlo, Barcelona
 Nicolas Almagro   Estoril
 Feliciano Lopez  Gstaad
 Albert Ramos-Vinolas  Bastad
 Fernando Verdasco  Bucharest

This week was Carreno Busta's first time playing on the indoor courts in Moscow, but he looked comfortable and showed off his resiliency throughout the title run. The sixth seed won three of his five matches in three sets, including his title match against Fognini, who was going for his first career ATP World Tour hard-court title.

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The 29-year-old Italian jumped out in front but Carreno Busta came back and was leading 4-1 in the second set before he pulled up with a right thigh injury. The Spaniard was hobbling on the court and looked to be in pain, but his thigh was heavily wrapped during a medical timeout, and he was sprinting around the court the next game.

He won the second set and broke Fognini twice in the third set, ending the match with an overhead winner. Carreno Busta will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $126,850.

“I tried to play my match and not focus on him,” Carreno Busta said.

Fognini was playing in his 12th career ATP World Tour final and was trying to win his fifth career title. All four of Fognini's previous titles have come on clay. He also was going for his second title of the season, having hoisted the Umag trophy in July. He will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $66,815.

“I always play good here,” said Fognini, who also reached the St. Petersburg final in 2012. “So Russia brings me luck.”