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October 23, 2009

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Jankovic qualifies for Doha

BULGARIAN qualifier Tsvetana Pironkova beat top-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-0, 6-2 yesterday in the second round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, sending Jelena Jankovic to next week's season-ending WTA Championships.

Jankovic, who is five points ahead of Zvonareva, will fill the final berth at the tournament in Doha, Qatar, regardless of how she does at the Kremlin Cup.

Serena and Venus Williams, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka have already qualified for the championships and are skipping the event in Moscow. Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland will go to Doha as alternates.

Serbia's Jankovic was playing Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic later yesterday.

The 126th-ranked Pironkova capitalized on Zvonareva's poor form in the first set, and an injury in the second. Trailing 2-3 on serve in the second set, Zvonareva called for a trainer to treat her knees, which had been taped all match. She lost the next three games.

"She is a good player and I knew that," Zvonareva said. "It's very difficult to play against her. She moves perfectly on the court, can hit the ball hard and can vary her tempo. I'm not in my best shape now and to beat her today I should have played more attentively."

Pironkova's win was her second over a top-10 player. She beat then-No. 3 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the second round in Rome last season.

The Bulgarian will next play Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine, who knocked out Russia's fifth seed Nadia Petrova on Wednesday.

Earlier, Maria Kirilenko of Russia beat Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-4, 6-3. In the quarterfinals, Kirilenko will face eighth-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy, who defeated Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-2, 7-5.

"I'm really satisfied with my results this week," said Kirilenko, who eliminated the third-seeded Radwanska on Wednesday.

"I think I'm in my best form this season now."

In the men's tournament, Robby Ginepri of the United States advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Marcel Granollers of Spain 7-6 (5), 6-0.

Top seed Nikolay Davydenko was sent packing by fellow Russian Marat Safin 6-4, 4-6, 2-6 on Wednesday.


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