Zvonareva, Bartoli exit
Moskow - Dominika Cibulkova advanced to her second straight semifinal Friday, rallying to upset top-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup.
Earlier, Marion Bartoli of France withdrew from the quarterfinals with an illness, handing Agnieszka Radwanska a spot in the season-ending WTA finals.
In the men's quarterfinals, the 133rd-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France landed 11 aces to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-3 and make it to the semifinals for the first time since winning his maiden title in Stuttgart, Germany, in July 2009.
Cibulkova, who was runner-up in Linz, Austria, last week, played with her right leg bandaged after she had aggravated a knee injury in the previous match. The 20th-ranked Slovak broke the fifth-ranked Zvonareva in the 10th game of the second set to stay in the match.
Serving at 3-2 down in the decider, Zvonareva saved four break points before taking a medical timeout to have her right shoulder treated. She then saved one more break point to level at 3-all. Cibulkova, 4-all and 40-15 down, also had her leg massaged and retaped. She then held for a 5-4 lead.
Serving in the next game, the Russian raced to 40-love up but could not finish and finally returned wide and long to lose the game and the match.
"You cannot go 50-50, you should decide at the right time," Zvonareva said. "Maybe I should have retired, because I'm to play next week in Istanbul and then be back here for the Fed Cup."
Zvonareva said she'd played a good match but because of the pain in her shoulder (due to an old injury) and concerns about her upcoming matches she had lost concentration.
The third-seeded Bartoli was scheduled to play Elena Vesnina of Russia in the first quarterfinal but pulled out because of a viral illness.
"I think just my whole body needed a break," Bartoli said. "I really was trying till the end but yesterday during my match I already felt not very good."
The ninth-ranked Frenchwoman beat Russia's Ksenia Pervak in straight sets in the second round on Wednesday and had not dropped a set in her last six matches.
"I still have a bit of energy left, so it was enough (to play), but early this morning I had so much pain in my whole body, on my neck — I couldn't even warm up," she said. "So, I knew it would be extremely difficult (to play). You know, it's been a very, very long season and I really tried it toward the end but that was it for me."
Vesnina said it was the first time she had advanced by a walkover at this stage of a tournament.
"It's really sad when you are not feeling good, not very healthy," Vesnina said. "I saw her match yesterday, and she was playing really well."
The 64th-ranked Russian, who is still looking for her first title, will play Cibulkova in the semifinals.
Bartoli won her seventh career title in Osaka last weekend and needed to win the title in Moscow to secure the last open spot for next week's WTA Championships in Istanbul.
With Bartoli's withdrawal, Radwanska qualifies directly for the event for the first time, despite losing in the second round in Moscow. She was a substitute in 2008 and 2009.
Bartoli will travel to Istanbul and will be the first alternate.
Jeremy Chardy, France, def. Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany, 6-4, 6-3.
Elena Vesnina, Russia, def. Marion Bartoli (3), France, walkover.
Dominika Cibulkova (8), Slovakia, def. Vera Zvonareva (1), Russia, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.