Moscow - Top-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova battled into the
semi-finals of the Kremlin Cup on Thursday with a hard-fought win over tearful
ninth seed Timea Babos of Hungary to boost her hopes of making the WTA Finals.
The two-time Grand Slam title winner, ranked ninth in the
world, won her first ever meeting with Babos 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2.
Kuznetsova took the opening set in 50 minutes and was
serving for the match in the second but Babos survived by winning the tiebreak
that followed to level at 1-1 after one hour 47 minutes on court.
A left thigh injury forced Babos to take a medical break
halfway into the deciding set and in the last game she collapsed in tears.
"It was really good for me that we had to play the
third set. I finally relaxed and began to play my normal tennis,"
"But before that I felt stressed and rusty. When I
served for the match in the second set I squandered all of my chances. It was a
really terrible game. Hopefully I will be relaxed in the semi-final."
Russian veteran Kuznetsova needs to retain her Moscow title
to edge Britain's Johanna Konta and claim the last spot in the elite
eight-woman field at next week's season finale in Singapore.
Kuznetsova will next face fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina of
Ukraine, who dumped Croatia's Ana Konjuh out of the event with a 6-1, 6-1 win
in just one hour.
In the other semi-final, Julia Goerges of Germany, who saw
off eighth-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 7-5, 6-1, will clash with
Australia's Daria Gavrilova, who beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, seeded seventh,
7-5, 4-6, 6-3.
In the ATP event, Russian teenage qualifier Alexander Bublik
upset top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, a two-time runner-up in
Moscow, 6-2, 7-5.
ATP/WTA Kremlin Cup results in Moscow on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Alexander Bublik (RUS) bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x1) 6-2, 7-5
Pablo Carreo-Busta (ESP x6) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-3, 2-1 - retired
Daniil Medvedev (RUS) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB x4) 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x3) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x1) bt Timea Babos (HUN x9) 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2
Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) bt Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-1, 6-1
Julia Goerges (GER) bt Darya Kasatkina (RUS x8) 7-5, 6-1
Daria Gavrilova (AUS) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x7) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3