Alexandrova upsets top seed Sabalenka, Vondrousova repeats Pavlyuchenkova win in Moscow

There have been blended fortunes for Russian gamers within the VTB Kremlin Cup quarterfinals. Marketa Vondrousova opened play by ousting former champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-2, ending the No.4 seed’s hopes of qualifying for the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. Ekaterina Alexandrova stored the house flag flying, although, with a 6-3, 6-4 upset of No.1 seed Aryna Sabalenka.

World No.37 Alexandrova’s victory was her sixth over a High 10 participant, and third towards High 5 opposition. She levelled her head-to-head towards Sabalenka at 2-2, having beforehand defeated the Belarusian 6-2, 7-5 within the 2017 Shenzhen ITF W60 ultimate earlier than shedding to her at Tour stage twice in 2019, in Shenzhen and St. Petersburg.

Ekaterina Alexandrova’s High 10 wins
d. Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-2, R2 Seoul 2018
d. Simona Halep 6-2, 6-3, R2 Beijing 2019
d. Simona Halep 6-2, 6-1, QF Gippsland Trophy 2021
d. Elina Svitolina 6-4, 7-5, R2 Berlin 2021
d. Ons Jabeur 6-1, 1-0 ret., R1 Moscow 2021
d. Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 6-4, QF Mocow 2021

The outcome places Alexandrova, 26, into her third profession WTA 500 semifinal following St. Petersburg 2020 and the 2021 Gippsland Trophy. It continues her historic indoor excellence: she was additionally the 2018 Linz runner-up and a three-time champion on the Limoges WTA 125 event.

Stat nook: Alexandrova’s superiority on serve and off the bottom was borne out within the numbers. She tallied 21 winners to 17 unforced errors, whereas Sabalenka’s 21 unforced errors had been solely balanced by 11 winners. Sustaining a primary serve share of 63%, Alexandrova was solely damaged as soon as, firstly of the second set.

Alexandrova additionally discovered pleasure with good returning, repeatedly aiming the ball deep at Sabalenka’s toes to elicit errors – a tactic that paid off handsomely as she broke to seal the opening set.

Key factors: After breaking Sabalenka twice to dominate the primary set, Alexandrova discovered herself underneath higher stress all through the second. A bout of unforced errors and certainly one of three Sabalenka double faults enabled her to interrupt again for 2-2, however at 4-4 the house participant confronted triple break level at an important juncture.

She rose to the problem magnificently. Three unreturnable serves and two daring forehand winners extricated her from that recreation, and within the subsequent Alexandrova maintained her momentum to interrupt Sabalenka for the match – sealing her first match level with a useless internet wire.

Vondrousova ends Pavlyuchenkova’s WTA Finals hopes

World No.35 Vondrousova’s second win over Pavlyuchenkova up to now month additionally had the impact of knocking the Roland Garros finalist out of competition to qualify for the WTA Finals. Pavlyuchenkova can not acquire sufficient factors to complete within the High 8.

Having gained 6-3, 6-3 within the second spherical of the Chicago Fall Tennis Basic, Vondrousova as soon as once more dropped solely six video games to Pavlyuchenkova. This time, she needed to come from 1-4 down within the first set to take action.

Pavlyuchenkova lifted the Moscow trophy in 2014, was runner-up in 2015 and 2019, and was bidding for her fifth semifinal look within the event. Buoyed by her dwelling crowd, she made an electrical begin, swatting winners to each nook of the court docket. However when errors started to creep into her recreation, Vondrousova took full benefit, turning the match round by rattling off seven straight video games.

Highlights: Vondrousova d. Pavlyuchenkova

Following her opening lack of serve, Vondrousova would solely face – and save – one additional break level towards her. She remained constant within the face of an more and more hit-or-miss Pavlyuchenkova, developing with a robust serve or delicate dropshot each time there gave the impression to be any hazard of a momentum shift. A 3rd ace would finally seal her second match level.

The Olympic silver medallist completed with 15 winners to Pavlyuchenkova’s 16, however solely 14 unforced errors in comparison with her opponent’s 32.

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