First Semi For Evgeniya
Published September 23, 2010 12:00
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Three Russians will contest the semifinals of the $220,000 Tashkent Open on Friday, along with a Romanian, Monica Niculescu, who prevailed in a marathon encounter with her top-seeded compatriot, Alexandra Dulgheru.
World No.81 Niculescu, the International-level event's No.5 seed and twice a losing quarterfinalist here, put aside painful blisters to dispatch her 27th-ranked countrywoman in 2 hours 41 minutes, 75(5) 26 63.
Dulgheru and Niculescu traded three breaks in the first set to force the tie-break, which Niculescu pocketed on her sixth set point. Two breaks of serve enabled Dulgheru to capture the second set, but Niculescu recovered the momentum, booking her first Tour semifinal with a winner from her unorthodox two-handed forehand.
"My blisters are getting worse every day, but my game is getting better," said Niculescu, who celebrates her 23rd birthday on Saturday. "This was the first time that I have beaten Dulgheru, as well as a Top 50 player. It is the biggest win of my career."
Amanmuradova led 3-0 in the first set, and 5-3 in the ensuing tie-break, but Kudryavtseva saved a set point and cruised in the second set.
"Akgul is a close friend of mine, but I kept these things away today," said Kudryavtseva. "I'm thrilled to continue my form from Guangzhou last week and reach the semifinals here."