MOSCOW, Russia - Dominika Cibulkova fell at the Kremlin Cup on Thursday, confirming Ekaterina Makarova as second alternate at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
It all came down to one match - if Cibulkova won she would be second alternate, if she lost Makarova would get it. Early on it looked like the No.1-seeded Cibulkova would cruise - after taking the first set, 6-4, she broke in the first game of the second set and even had two points for a 2-0 advantage.
But it just wasn't to be. Her opponent, Vitalia Diatchenko, won 10 of the next 11 games to steal the second set, 6-2, and build a 4-0 lead in the third. The two players then kept breaking each other's serve until the Russian qualifier had the victory after an hour and 59 minutes, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Diatchenko's win over the World No.14 was the first Top 50 win of her career.
And by virtue of the result, Makarova rounds out the singles field at the WTA Finals, with Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Eugenie Bouchard, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic the Top 8, and Angelique Kerber and Makarova alternates.
Makarova, who also lost her opening match at the Kremlin Cup this week, is in for a busy few weeks now. Not only is she a singles alternate at the WTA Finals, but she's also one of the eight teams in the doubles event alongside fellow Russian Elena Vesnina, and by virtue of winning the Pattaya City title earlier in the year, she's also going to be one of the eight players heading to the other season-ending championships, the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions in Sofia, in two weeks.
The other second round matches saw No.6 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova end the winning streak of Tianjin champion Alison Riske, 6-2, 6-2, Tsvetana Pironkova take out Serbian wildcard Aleksandra Krunic, 6-2, 6-3, and Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova cruise past Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 6-1.