Top seed Makarova withdraws from Tournament of Champions

 

Garbine Muguruza moved a step closer to the semifinals by beating favorite Flavia Pennetta of Italy 0-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the group stage at the season-ending WTA Tournament of Champions on Thursday.

The WTA’s rising star from Spain lost the first set without winning a single game but then completely turned the match around dropping just two games to snatch the victory over third-seeded Pennetta.

The seventh-seeded Spanish player, who broke serve five times and saved 10 of 13 break points on her own serve, is now the only undefeated player in her Serdika group.

"I went to the court really nervous," Muguruza said adding that she had picked "the wrong strategy" against Pennetta. "I had to change something, and then my coach gave me some advice that worked."

Muguruza will wrap up her round robin schedule on Friday against Alize Cornet of France who stayed alive in her bid for a semifinal spot by defeating top-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-1, 6-4.

Makarova announced after the match that she was withdrawing from the tournament because of an injury.

"Unfortunately I have to withdraw with a back injury which happened in Singapore," she said. "I tried my best tennis, but it is not possible for me to play at my highest level right now."

The No. 11 in the WTA ranking lost her opening game on Wednesday in staright sets to Garbine Muguruza. She will be replaced by Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who plays Flavia Pennetta on Friday.

Germany’s Andrea Petkovic, seeded fourth, defeated second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 7-5, 6-3 in the Sredets group to ease her way to the semifinals.