The first match on court on Thursday was between two Russians, Maria Kirilenko, seeded 3; and Nadia Petrova, seeded 2, both of whom had to win to get the prized two wins in the round robin format. Kirilenko has had a stellar season which saw her rise to a career high of number 15 on the WTA rankings, while Petrova is also on the up and is now at number 13.This time it was Petrova who managed to get the upper hand in the end, winning 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-3.
Leading 5-2 in the first set, Petrova held her serve to trail 3-5 before the lower ranked Russian took the set at 6-3.
Petrova started the second set, held and broke to go 2-0 up, but Kirilenko got an immediate break back and subsequently levelled the score at 2-2. Games then went with serve until the 7th game when Petrova took her opponent’s serve yet again to take a lead 5-3. However, Kirilenko managed to fight back and the set was to be decided in a tiebreak. Petrova regained focus once more and with a 7-4 scoreline, she forced a decider.
Kirilenko opened the deciding set, but Petrova broke. Kirilenko returned the compliment and also held, to put the match back on serve. Petrova got another break in the 7th game to lead 4-3 and this time did not allow her compatriot back into the game, taking the set 6-3. She now leads Group B with two wins and no losses.
With Jie Zheng of China having lost her first two matches (to Pironkova and Petrova), she is out of the running in Group B.