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Safarova's Shot At Radwanska's Destiny

Lucie Safarova could give Marion Bartoli a major boost in the race to the year-ender in Istanbul.

Published October 18, 2011 12:00

Safarova's Shot At Radwanska's Destiny
Lucie Safarova

MOSCOW, Russia - The race to the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships hits its climax at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow this week, and on Tuesday it was Lucie Safarova who stepped forward as Agnieszka Radwanska's final hurdle to complete the field at the elite eight-woman tournament.

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After missing two set points in the first set tie-break, Safarova rallied to fend off the two-handed blasts of Spanish lucky loser Arantxa Parra Santonja, 67(7) 64 63, to set up a second round clash with the No.2-seeded Radwanska.

If Radwanska beats Safarova on Wednesday night, she will become the eighth qualifier for Istanbul. If she loses to the Czech, Marion Bartoli - who is seeded No.4 here - will be the eighth qualifier if she goes on to win the title in Moscow.

Safarova leads Radwanska in their head-to-head series, 3-1.

No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova led the winners in the other day matches, scoring a 63 63 win over French qualifier and former No.11 Alizé Cornet.

"Nothing feels better than a job well done and going home, my real home," Kuznetsova wrote on her Twitter page. "Even the traffic doesn't feel bad."

Ksenia Pervak, Klara Zakopalova and Tsvetana Pironkova also moved into the second round in Moscow after some all-unseeded battles on Day 2.

At night, No.5 seed Jelena Jankovic became the biggest surprise of the week so far, falling to Russian qualifier Ekaterina Ivanova, 64 16 64. The 23-year-old Ivanova won less points in the match - 83 to 85 - but won them at the important moments to beat the No.13-ranked Jankovic, the first Top 50 win of her career.

"It was my first big win. I think it was the best match I've played in my career," Ivanova jubilated. "I always expect to win but mainly I wanted to show my best tennis, which I did today. I'm very happy and really excited about this win."

"Ekaterina was coming from qualies and had a few matches under her belt, and she played very well. I felt asleep and in slow motion," Jankovic said. "It just wasn't my day. I look forward to resting and coming back strong in 2012."

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