Sofia, Bulgaria (Sports Network) - Nadia Petrova went 3-0 in round-robin
play and captured a group win at the $750,000 Tournament of Champions.
The second-seeded Russian was perfect in the four-player Sredets Group in
Sofia after coming from behind to beat eighth-seeded heavy Bulgarian crowd
favorite Tsvetana Pironkova 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 Friday on the indoor hardcourts at
Armeets Arena. Pironkova (1-2), like Petrova, had already qualified for
Saturday's semifinals at this season-ending event.
Petrova's semifinal opponent will be fourth-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci
(2-1), while Pironkova should have her hands full with top-seeded former world
No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki (3-0) on Saturday.
Wozniacki captured this week's four-player Serdika Group.
Also on Friday, alternate Sofia Arvidsson (1-0) was leading sixth-seeded Zheng
Jie (0-3) when the Chinese retired from their bout while trailing 1-5 in the
first set. Arvidsson replaced ill third seeded Maria Kirilenko (1-1) in the
eight-woman field on Thursday.
The Tournament of Champions is the finale for the WTA's International Series,
with the six highest-ranked players who have won an International title this
year -- and two wild cards -- comprising an eight-woman field. The
Serdika Group boasted Wozniacki, Vinci, fifth-seeded Taiwanese Su-Wei Hsieh
(0-2) and seventh-seeded Slovak Daniela Hantuchova (0-2), while the four-
player Sredets Group featured Petrova, Zheng, Pironkova, and Arvidsson,
following Kirilenko's withdrawal.
The tournament format sees two round-robin groups play out over the first
four days, with the semifinals on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
The Sports Network