Sun, Oct 23, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Cibulkova ousts Zvonareva, seals place in semis

AFP, MOSCOW

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia returns to Elena Vesnina of Russia during their match at the Kremlin Cup on Friday in Moscow.

Photo: AFP

Dominika Cibulkova sent No. 1 seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia crashing out of the US$1.5 million joint ATP/WTA Kremlin Cup event to book a place in the semi-finals on Friday.

The 22-year-old Slovakian, seeded eighth, overcame a first set loss to prevail 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 and record her second win over Zvonareva in five head-to-head meetings.

“I tried to play more aggressive tennis after losing the opening set and it paid off,” Cubilkova said. “I lost a lot of energy in the match and now feel myself very tired, but I’m happy to win and advance into the semi-finals.”

Zvonareva had to wait until the ninth game for a break, the 27-year-old Russian breaking to take the opening set in 44 minutes.

However, after trading breaks throughout the second set, Cibulkova moved up a gear and, thanks to added power and accuracy, pulled the match level after 1 hour, 36 minutes on court.

Cibulkova maintained her momentum in the decider, producing the deciding break in the 10th game to win the set and the match in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

Cibulkova will now face another Russian in Elena Vesnina, who claimed a place in the last four after French opponent Marion Bartoli, seeded third, withdrew.

The 27-year-old Bartoli, who needed to win the title to take the eighth and final spot in the year-ending WTA finale in Istanbul, later said she was suffering from a virus.

“I think my whole body just needed a break,” Bartoli said. “I really was trying till the end, but yesterday during my match I wasn’t feeling very good.”

Bartoli’s retirement opened the way for Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska to advance to the in Istanbul event next week. Second seed Radwanska crashed out of the Kremlin Cup in her first match at the hands of the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova.

Sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia was also a high profile casualty, succumbing 6-1, 6-2 to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.

In the men’s event, No. 1 seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia advanced into the semis with a confident 6-4, 6-2 win over Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, seeded sixth.

He will now meet fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, a former three-time champion, who beat Germany’s Michael Berrer 6-3, 6-2.

Serbian compatriot Viktor Troicki, the defending champion, battled into the last four through a tough three tiebreaks against fifth seed Alex Bogomolov of the US.

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