Vera Zvonareva sees off Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in straight sets in Tokyo semis
Russian comes from 5-1 down in opening set to win it on a tiebreaker
Maria Sharapova pulls out of China Open with ankle injury
Andy Murray into the semifinals of ATP tournament in Thailand
Russian Vera Zvonareva came from 5-1 down in the opening set to beat Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 7-6 6-0 in the semifinals of the WTA tournament in Tokyo Friday.
Zvonareva will reach a career high No.2 in the rankings if she wins the Toray Pan Pacific title and will face Agnieszka Radwanska in the final.
Polish star Radwanska shocked third seed Victoria Azarenka 6-3 4-6 6-2 in the other semifinal.
Ninth seed Radwanska led 6-3 4-2 until Azarenka launched a fight back to win the second set, but two breaks of service saw her home in the decider on her fourth match point.
Zvonareva looked in big trouble in the opening stages of her match against Kvitova and faced three set points on her Czech opponent’s service until winning it on a tiebreak.
The second set was completely one-sided as she breezed into her 30th carrer final.
“I don’t even remember being down 5-1 in the first set!” Zvonareva told the WTA official website.
“But I slowly got into the match, making the shots I usually make. Then I was able to turn it around.
“I think I played very consistently in the second set and Petra started to make a few more mistakes. We had some tough games, but I was able to convert all my chances, and that’s why the scoreline looked like that in the end.”
Despite the loss, Kvitova’s run to the semifinal will lift her into the top five in the WTA rankings for the first time.
Meanwhile, former world number one Maria Sharapova has pulled out of next week’s China Open with an ankle injury she picked up in in her quarterfinal against Kvitova.
The 24-year-old Russian was force to retire after twisting her ankle, but is hopeful she can return to the circuit before the end of the season.
“Will do my best to recover in time for Istanbul (the season-ending WTA Championships),” Sharapova said on her website.
On the men’s ATP Tour, world number four Andy Murray breezed into the semifinals of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
The top seed beat Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes as he remained on course to win his third title of the season.