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Tashkent Semis To Feature Two Seeds, Two Surprises

Urszula Radwanska and Eva Birnerova will contest their first semifinals when they take on Ksenia Pervak and Alla Kudryavtseva, respectively.

Published September 15, 2011 04:59

Tashkent Semis To Feature Two Seeds, Two Surprises
Urszula Radwanska

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Since capturing her maiden WTA singles title at the Tashkent Open last year, Alla Kudryavtseva had not been beyond the quarterfinals of an event. Apparently, this tournament brings out the best in her, though, as she is into the semifinals following her 76(5) 64 defeat of Sorana Cirstea on Thursday.

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The sixth-seeded Kudryavtseva and Cirstea traded early breaks in the first set before holding serve the rest of the way en route to a tie-break, where the Russian prevailed. Then at 4-4 in the second, Kudryavtseva secured the set's only break and served out the match.

"It was a close match and I'm thrilled the way I played in spite of some crucial mistakes," said Kudryavtseva, who has beaten Cirstea three straight times after losing their initial encounter.

Kudryavtseva's semifinal opponent on Friday will be Eva Birnerova, who scored a 64 46 63 triumph over Valeria Savinykh. Birnerova had eight break point opportunities compared to 12 for Savinykh, but the difference in the match was Birnerova converted on six compared to five for Savinykh. That included breaks on two straight Savinykh service games after Birnerova started the third set in an 0-2 hole. After losses in her three previous quarterfinals, Birnerova, who turned 27 on Wednesday, is now into her first career final four.

On the top half of the draw, Urszula Radwanska edged Eleni Daniilidou, 63 46 64, to secure her first career semifinal berth. Radwanska almost let a 5-1 third set lead slip away, as Daniilidou broke twice to get back on serve at 4-5, but then the Pole broke back to seal the match.

"I had lost to Eleni after having a match point last time, so I knew the match was going to be tough," said Radwanska, 0-5 in quarterfinals until Thursday. "I had problems because of the windy conditions and good serves and backhand slices from my opponent, but I'm happy to have won and reached my first-ever semifinal on the WTA."

Next up for Radwanska is No.1 seed Ksenia Pervak, the most impressive of Thursday's winners. She disposed of qualifier Victoria Larrière, 61 62, in an hour, and is the only player left yet to drop a set.

"I didn't expect an easy match today. I had played her once in the juniors in a close match. The match was not as easy as the scoreline suggests," said Pervak, into another final four during a year that already includes her first runner-up showing at Baku, a semifinal appearance at Bad Gastein and her first run to a Grand Slam fourth round at Wimbledon.

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