MOSCOW: Bulgarian qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova beat top-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-0, 6-2 on Thursday in the second round of the Kremlin Cup, sending Jelena Jankovic to next week’s season-ending WTA Championships.
Jankovic, who is five points ahead of Zvonareva, will fill the final berth at the tournament in Doha, Qatar, regardless of how she does at the Kremlin Cup.
Serena and Venus Williams, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka have already qualified for the championships and are skipping the event in Moscow. Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will go to Doha as alternates.
The 126th-ranked Pironkova capitalised on Zvonareva’s poor form in the first set, and an injury in the second. Trailing 3-2 on serve in the second set, Zvonareva called for a trainer to treat her knees, which had been taped all match. She lost the next three games.
“It wasn’t easy at all to win today, though the score looks so impressive,” Pironkova said. “I had no time to relax. I had to be there mentally and physically for all the entire match, fighting for every single point.”
Pironkova’s win was her second over a top-10 player.
“She is a good player and I knew that,” Zvonareva said.
Meanwhile, authorities are looking into a Luxembourg Open match involving U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki that apparently sparked bettors to pile money on her opponent when she was on the verge of losing in straight sets.
Wozniacki, a 19-year-old Dane ranked sixth in the world, retired from the first-round match at the Luxembourg Open with a hamstring injury on Wednesday while leading Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 7-5, 5-0.
Wozniacki’s father, Piotr, told his daughter at 3-0 in the second set to retire before winning. His comments, apparently spoken in his native Polish, were picked up by microphones and heard by viewers watching the match on the Internet.
WTA spokesman Neil Robinson said the Tennis Integrity Unit was aware of the case.
The results: At Moscow (Kremlin Cup): Men: Second round: Janko Tipsarevic bt Christophe Rochus 6-4, 2-1 retired.; Robby Ginepri bt Marcel Granollers 7-6(5), 6-0; Mikhail Kukushkin bt Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 6-4;
Women: Second round: Tsvetana Pironkova bt Vera Zvonareva 6-0, 6-2(8); Francesca Schiavone bt Monica Niculescu 6-2, 7-5; Maria Kirilenko bt Aleksandra Wozniak 6-4, 6-3; Alisa Kleybanova bt Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 6-2; Vera Dushevina bt Agnes Szavay 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Alona Bondarenko bt Nadia Petrova 7-6(3), 6-3.
At Stockholm (Stockholm Open): Second round: Jarkko Nieminen w/o Tommy Haas; Olivier Rochus bt Feliciano Lopez 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Marcos Baghdatis bt Robert Kendrick 6-2, 6-2. Joachim Johansson bt Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-4; Thomaz Bellucci bt Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.
At Luxembourg (Luxembourg Open): Second round: Shahar Peer bt Carla Suárez Navarro 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. Sabine Lisicki bt Polona Hercog 7-6(1), 6-4. — Agencies