Pavlyuchenkova ousts 2nd-seeded Safarova at Kremlin Cup
MOSCOW — Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia ousted
second-seeded Lucie Safarova from the Kremlin Cup 6-1, 6-7 (2), 6-3 on
Wednesday, reducing the Czech player’s chances of making the
season-ending WTA finals.
Safarova’s second-round loss guaranteed a spot in Singapore next week for Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
The last two spots were still up for
grabs, and U.S. Open champion Flavia Pennetta also was in Moscow in hope
of securing one of them. She advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2,
6-4 win Wednesday over Daria Gavrilova of Russia.
After easily taking the first set,
Pavlyuchenkova went up 5-2 in the second, but then lost the next three
games and failed to convert her only match point in the set with
Safarova serving at 6-5. She double-faulted on her opponent’s first set
point in the tiebreaker. Reclaiming control in the decider, the Russian
got the win when Safarova hit a volley long.
Pavlyuchenkova, last year’s winner in
Moscow, stretched her unbeaten streak in indoor hard court events to 17
matches. She also won in Paris last year and clinched her first title of
this season on Sunday in Linz. In the quarterfinals, she will play her
first match against fellow Russian Margarita Gasparyan, who upset
ninth-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 6-3.