Carlsbad, California, August 6: Vera Zvonareva got through a tough three-setter against Sabine Lisicki to move into the semifinals of the Mercury Insurance Open as the top three seeds all won Friday.
Top-seeded Zvonareva staved off three break points in the third set then broke in the seventh game en route to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win.
No. 2 seed Andrea Petkovic beat American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-1 and third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska recovered from a shoulder injury and an awful first set to overcome Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic showed some vintage form to recover from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set and beat fourth-seeded Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-2.
After Zvonareva held serve for a 5-3 edge in the final set, she squandered two match points on Lisicki's serve as the German got to 5-4. Zvonareva finally won on her serve in the next game after Lisicki saved two more matches before she hit a forehand long.
“It was one of the most important moments in the match because you never want to go down a break in such a tight match and against a good server like Sabine,”
“After that, I didn't lose the concentration in the next game. I was able to break her right away and that was a key moment right there.”
Zvonareva's semifinal opponent will be Ivanovic, who showed flashes of brilliance with a a much-improved serve and precision winners on both forehand and backhand.
“I started swinging a lot more,” Ivanovic said of her comeback from the 4-1 deficit. “I was a little bit pushing, a little bit not trying to make a mistake and tried to place the ball rather than just commit and hit. I started doing that and it made a difference.”
the winner of the late quarterfinal between No. 4 seed Peng Shuai of China and fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
Petkovic, 23, used her greater experience to overpower her younger opponent Stephens, who quickly fell out of the match. The match was at 2-2 in the first set before the German won nine straight games. When Stephens finally held to make it 5-1 she raised her arms to the air in mock triumph.
“In the beginning, the first maybe six games, it was a really tough battle,” Petkovic said. “After I made the (service) break for 4-2, it was too much, just with the inexperience.”
“It's very important when you play these young players to just sort of show who's the boss on the court,” she said. “You keep up the intensity for every point.”
Petkovic's semifinal opponent will be Radwanska, provided the Pole can take to the court. She rated her chances “50-50” after suffering a recurrence of a shoulder injury early in her match against Hantuchova.
After winning just nine points in the first set, Radwanska called for a trainer. She is suffering from a nerve issue in her right shoulder that causes some difficulty, especially with her serve.
After receiving treatment, Radwanska's game improved considerably in the second set.
“After you lose 6-0, you really have nothing to lose,” she said. “So, I start to play more aggressive. In my mind, it was just to play, win some games. I just feel more relaxed.”
Radwanska said she considered pulling out after the first set because of the injury “but then I had some chances, so I said, ‘OK, a couple of more games.”'
She broke her Slovakian opponent in the 10th game, for the third time in the set, when she ripped a backhand winner on a second serve to take the second set.
The players, doubles partners who won at Miami this season, were on serve in the third set until they traded breaks to get to 4-4. After Radwanska held serve, she finished it off on her first match point when Hantuchova hit a backhand crosscourt shot wide. AP