STANFORD, Calif. (www.mubadalasvc.com) – No. 1 Agnieszka Radwanska punched her ticket to the semifinals, defeating No. 6 Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-3 to highlight quarterfinal competition at the Bank of the West Classic on Friday.
The tournament’s top seed and world’s No. 4-ranked player, Radwanska needed two hours and 14 minutes to survive a gritty effort from Lepchenko, who had won her first two tournament matches in straight sets. Radwanska dominated the first-set tiebreaker, winning the first six points. Lepchenko bounced back to captured the second set and grabbed a 3-2 lead to start the deciding frame before Radwanska won four consecutive games.
Radwanska’s semifinal opponent will be No. 4 seed Jamie Hampton, who posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over qualifier Vera Dushevina. Participating in her first tour event as a seeded player, Hampton had a much easier time on Friday compared to Thursday’s dramatic three-set victory over wild card Nicole Gibbs. Ranked No. 29 in the world, Hampton pounded six aces and won 67 percent of the points on her serve. Hampton is the only semifinalist remaining who has yet to win a singles title.
In five career meetings, Radwanska owns a 4-1 edge over Hampton, including two victories already this year.
No. 5 Sorana Cirstea continued her dominant tournament run with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Olga Govortsova in the first match of the day. Trailing 3-1 in the first set, Cirstea stormed back to win five games in a row and later collected the final three games of the second set. Serving proved to be a factor, with Cirstea tallying six aces while Govortsova was hindered by five double faults. Cirstea has now produced three straight-set victories, surrendering three games or less in each frame.
Cirstea’s reward is a semifinal matchup against No. 3 Dominika Cibulkova, who dispatched of No. 7 seed Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 6-3. In the first set, Cibulkova raced out to a 5-1 advantage before Radwanska forced a 5-5 tie. Mirroring her clutch performance from Thursday, Cibulkova held serve and then registered a break to grab a 7-5 win. In the second set, Cibulkova built a 4-1 cushion en route to claiming a 6-3 victory.
Cibulkova has won two of the three meetings against Cirstea, whose only victory in the series was a 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0 triumph in the quarterfinals of last year’s Bank of the West Classic.
ABOUT THE BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC: The Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Owned and operated by IMG, the WTA Premier event features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $795,000. Held on Stanford University’s campus at Taube Family Tennis Stadium since 1997, former champions include: Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters.
ABOUT BANK OF THE WEST: Founded in 1874, $62 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 600 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.
ABOUT IMG: IMG Worldwide is a global sports, entertainment and media business, with nearly 3,000 employees operating in 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging: IMG College; IMG’s Joint Ventures in China, Brazil and India; IMG Media; IMG Events and Federations; IMG Fashion; IMG Models; IMG Art+Commerce; IMG Clients; IMG Academies; IMG Consulting and IMG Licensing. More information is available at www.imgworld.com.