Radwanska Out Early, Bartoli's Door Opens
Published October 19, 2011 12:00
MOSCOW, Russia - Marion Bartoli needed three things to happen for her to beat Agnieszka Radwanska for the eighth and final spot in the eight-woman TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships: win Osaka, have Radwanska lose before the quarterfinals in Moscow, and win Moscow. Two down, one to go.
Contesting her first match of the week at the Premier-level Kremlin Cup, Radwanska was picked off by Lucie Safarova, losing to the big-hitting Czech left-hander for the fourth time in their five career meetings, 64 46 64.
"I didn't play good tennis here," Radwanska said. "The surface did not suit me. It was actually my first indoor tournament of the year, so it felt a little weird."
After taking the first set and pulling off four easy holds to get to 4-4 in the second set, Safarova looked ready to pounce again, building a 15-30 lead on Radwanska's service game; Radwanska held and then broke to take the match to a third and deciding set, but again Safarova was serving too strong, and one break in the seventh game was enough to propel Safarova to victory.
To secure the last spot in the year-end finale in Istanbul, Bartoli - who is the No.3 seed this week - needs to win the title. In Osaka last week she lost just 21 games in five matches to win her first WTA title in four months, and now she will need to win four more matches in four days to do it all over again.
Bartoli will begin her quest Thursday against Russia's Ksenia Pervak, who has been moving up the rankings fast the last few months but doesn't have much success against Top 10 players, losing both of her previous matches against the elite quite handily (61 62 to Dinara Safina, 61 64 to Vera Zvonareva).
No.1 seed Zvonareva is looming in Bartoli's half of the draw, however.
"I hope Vera can do me a favor there," Radwanska quipped.
Whichever one of Radwanska and Bartoli doesn't get the eighth spot in Istanbul will be an alternate for the tournament, alongside Andrea Petkovic.
Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Li Na, Vera Zvonareva and Samantha Stosur are the seven qualifiers so far for the singles event; the teams of Kveta Peschke & Katarina Srebotnik, Liezel Huber & Lisa Raymond, Gisela Dulko & Flavia Pennetta and Vania King & Yaroslava Shvedova are the four qualifiers for the doubles event.