DALIAN, China - Vera Zvonareva has reached the biggest semifinal of her comeback after defeating unseeded Sabina Sharipova 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and four minutes in the Dalian Open quarterfinals.
The 32-year-old, who won a $15,000 ITF even in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in July and won qualifying matches in New Haven and the US Open last month, broke her Uzbek opponent seven times en route to her most straightforward scoreline of the week so far. The former World No.2 has extended her record in 2017 to 15-5.
Zvonareva, currently ranked No.623, will face another returning Russian in the semifinals as Vitalia Diatchenko came through 6-3, 7-5 over wildcard Zhang Kai-Lin. The 27-year-old World No.250 is looking for her second career WTA 125K title following Taipei in 2014.
Elsewhere, No.5 seed Kateryna Kozlova dismissed No.1 seed Duan Ying-Ying, the tournament's only Top 100 player, 6-2, 6-1 in one hour and eight minutes. The Ukrainian won a titanic eight-deuce tussle to break her Chinese opponent in the opening game, and did not face a break point of her own throughout; she is the only semifinalist yet to drop a set.
Kozlova will face No.3 seed Zarina Diyas in the semifinals after the Kazakh beat No.6 seed Han Xinyun 6-2, 7-6(3) for her third win over the Chinese player this year, and fifth overall in as many meetings. Han can take comfort from pushing Diyas as far as a tiebreak set for the first time.