Bartoli Express Begins Kremlin Cup Quest

Winning 10 games in a row at one point, Marion Bartoli came out firing in her Kremlin Cup opener.

Published October 20, 2011 12:00

Bartoli Express Begins Kremlin Cup Quest
Marion Bartoli

MOSCOW, Russia - Marion Bartoli came out firing in her first match of the week at the Kremlin Cup and in her quest for Istanbul, at one point winning 10 games in a row during a 61 61 win over Ksenia Pervak of the home team.

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Bartoli and Pervak traded breaks in the first two games of the match but Bartoli went on a tear from there, winning the next five games to take the first set then winning the first five games of the second set as well. Pervak fell behind 0-40 on her serve in the next game; she would fend off five match points to break the streak and finally get another game, but the No.3-seeded Bartoli served it out comfortably in the next game, ending it with her sixth ace of the match.

"Even though it was 61 61, in the beginning it was a lot tighter," Bartoli said. "Ksenia improved a lot this year. She has a new coach and has been winning a lot of matches, and she's ranked in the 30s or 40s now, which is really great. She's working hard. I think she's a really talented player and will go a long way."

Bartoli was then asked what she enjoys about playing in Moscow. "I love the Russian food. I think especially your pancakes... I had some in the morning, I had some at lunch, I had some at tea time and some at dinner!" she said. "I came here for the first time in 2004 for the Fed Cup final. I love everything here. I love the snow, it's beautiful. I love the food. And I'm trying to read the language too. It's great to discover new places and I'm really enjoying my time so far."

Bartoli and Agnieszka Radwanska are still hoping to qualify as the eighth and final qualifier in the eight-woman TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships next week. With Radwanska out of the Kremlin Cup it's all in Bartoli's hands now though - if she wins the title, she will be that eighth and final qualifier.

"I'm of course aware of the situation right now, but I don't really think about it. I'm just happy I won one more title last week - now I've won six matches in a row. I'm just trying to fight for every point on the court and play the best I can. We'll see where it takes me. I will be finishing in the Top 10 this year for sure - I'm already extremely pleased with my whole season. Even if I go to Istanbul as an alternate it's a great achievement, and I will still play in Bali if that happens, so I can't ask or more. I think I really did my best the whole 2011 season."

Next up for Bartoli will be Elena Vesnina, who won an all-Russian duel with qualifier Ekaterina Ivanova, 63 64. Ivanova had taken out Jelena Jankovic.

"The season is over and Elena starts to play finally!" Vesnina joked. "It feels great to be in the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup, playing at home with all of these fans coming to support me. I really feel the support. I know the better I play here, the more people will come and watch me. I hope to keep going."

Bartoli leads Vesnina in their head-to-head series, 3-2, but Bartoli has all the momentum in that series - she has won their last three meetings.

"Right now Marion is on fire. She's really motivated to go to Istanbul," Vesnina said. "I've played against her before. She's a really, really tough player who plays like nobody else on the tour. It will be tricky but anything can happen."

In the only other match of the day session, No.8 seed Dominika Cibulkova rallied from a break down in both sets to take out Klara Zakopalova, 76(5) 62.

At night, No.6 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova snapped up the last spot in the final eight of the Premier event with a tight 75 75 win over Tsvetana Pironkova.

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