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Oprandi Outdoes Kuznetsova In Oeiras

Romina Oprandi beat Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the semifinals of the Portugal Open. Which Top 20 Russian does she have next - and how many Top 20 players has she beaten before?

Published May 02, 2013 12:00

Oprandi Outdoes Kuznetsova In Oeiras
Romina Oprandi

OEIRAS, Portugal - With a barrage of angles, slices and drop shots, Romina Oprandi carved Svetlana Kuznetsova up in the quarters of the Portugal Open on Thursday, matching her best ever WTA result.

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Oprandi never really looked in trouble against Kuznetsova, winning all eight of her service games without even facing a break point and breaking the Kuznetsova serve four times in the match, twice in each set. At the end of the day it was no contest as the Swiss won in just 63 minutes, 62 62.

"Unfortunately this was just one of those days where I wish I didn't even step on the court," Kuznetsova said. "It was just a horrible match and I haven't played that badly for a long time. Romina's style of play doesn't give you any rhythm, which is a good tactic for her. I'm pretty sad about the way I played.

"But it was good to at least get three matches here this week."

"I was just focused on my own game and trying to play my best," Oprandi said. "Maybe she made some more mistakes than usual, but that's tough for me to say. All I know is I played quite well today and I'm very happy about it, and I'm really excited to be in the semifinals of this tournament now."

Oprandi is now in her third WTA semifinal. The first two came at Palermo in 2010 (falling to Kaia Kanepi) and 's-Hertogenbosch in 2011 (where she retired against Jelena Dokic with a wrist injury).

Next up for Oprandi is No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who had a very different kind of day, battling two hours and 45 minutes to edge No.7 seed Elena Vesnina, 63 67(3) 76(3). Pavlyuchenkova was originally up a set and a break at 63 32 but Vesnina didn't go away, rallying to take the second set in a tie-break and even going up a break twice in the third - she led 2-0, and later served for the match at 6-5. But Pavlyuchenkova regrouped just in time to break back and close it out in a breaker.

"There was a bit of drama in that match but I think it was a really good quality match from both of us," Pavlyuchenkova said after the match. "I started really well - for a set and a half it was really good - but then Elena was fighting for every point and played amazingly, so credit to her. It was a really tough one and I'm really happy I managed to pull through in the end because I was down in the third set.

"We play in the Fed Cup team together and hit all the time, so mentally it was difficult."

While Oprandi is 0-2 in WTA semifinals, Pavlyuchenkova has good memories from this round, going 6-4 in WTA semifinals - this is, however, her first WTA semifinal on a surface other than hardcourt.

The No.19-ranked Pavlyuchenkova will also have to be on high alert because Oprandi has had six Top 20 wins in her career - one in 2010 (Aravane Rezai), two in 2011 (Kaia Kanepi and Kim Clijsters, a Top 10 win), two in 2012 (Francesca Schiavone and Ana Ivanovic) and one in 2013 (Lucie Safarova).

Pavlyuchenkova and Oprandi will be playing each other for the first time.

"It's going to be a tough match tomorrow," Pavlyuchenkova said. "It would be amazing to be in the final, but it's too far to think about it. It's going to be a new experience playing against Romina, because I've never played her, and I haven't even seen much of her playing. But I'm looking forward to it."

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