Vera Survives Tough Tatishvili Test
Published July 22, 2011 02:51
BAKU, Azerbaijan - The top two seeds were both subjected to grueling three set tests in the quarterfinals of the Baku Cup on Friday. One of them, Vera Zvonareva, survived to reach to the semis; the other, fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, did not.
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Of the two stars it was second-seeded Pavlyuchenkova who took to court first, against an opponent ranked No.162 in the world. Galina Voskoboeva has been higher, of course, but after 10 years on the tour she was yet to reach a semi - and after Pavlyuchenkova's much improved performance in the second round, it seemed likely things would stay that way.
However, Pavlyuchenkova, who served 25 double faults in the first round but only seven in the second, regressed against her in-form opponent. Twenty-seven free points went Voskoboeva's way, and while she certainly did plenty to earn her win - using the drop shot to considerable effect - the Kazakh certainly benefitted from the youngster's handouts, winning 67(5) 64 63.
In the last four Voskoboeva meets No.7 seed Ksenia Pervak, who continued on her increasingly winning ways with a straight sets defeat of Aravane Rezai, 61 62. Pervak, who also made the semis at Bad Gastein last week, broke the Frenchwoman for 3-2 in the second set; although pressured on serve in the next game the Russian held on, and didn't lose another game.
Saturday's other semifinal will be between Mariya Koryttseva, who handled the scorching temperatures the better to beat Kateryna Bondarenko in a service break strewn Ukrainian derby, 75 64; and Zvonareva.
While Zvonareva might have been expected to glide past an opponent who only recently joined the Top 100, the world No.3 was given all sorts of trouble by Anna Tatishvili. The 21-year-old Georgian battled valiantly to win the second set in a tie-break to force the decider, but just past the three hour mark the Russian's experience told, 75 67(4) 62.
There was more good news for Voskoboeva when she won her doubles semifinal with Monica Niculescu. The No.1 seeds beat Daniella Dominikovic and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, 64 60. Koryttseva and Tatiana Poutchek play Elena Bovina and Valeria Savinykh on Saturday for a place in the final.