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.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first