The two semi final matches in the premier level Kremlin Cup tournament being played in Moscow this week were played on Saturday afternoon. In the first, 19th ranked and 7th seeded Samantha Stosur (Player Bio) took on the challenge of 23rd ranked and 8th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova (Player Bio). Stosur took out Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-1, followed that win up with a 6-4 6-1 win over Alize Cornet and then defeated Ana Ivanovic 7-5 6-4 in the quarters on her route to the semis. Kuznetsova went past Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 6-2, Sophia Arvidsson 6-2 7-5 and then had a great win 6-3 6-2 over 2nd seeded Roberta Vinci in the quarters. Stosur made a shaky start to her semi, serving two double faults in the first game to allow the Russian to break immediately, but she got her game together from then on and allowed Kuznetsova to get just one more game before she took the first set at 6-2. The Aussie built up a commanding 5-1 lead in the second set but the Russian used all her formidable skills and experience to pull off three games in a row to close in to 4-5 but just could not hold her serve when it counted and allowed Stosur to break one final time to take the set at 6-4.
Stosur will be going for a second title in as many weeks in Sunday’s final (after she took the tile in the Osaka tournament last week) when she plays Simona Halep (Player Bio), the tournament’s 5th seed. The wily Romanian had a bye in the first round, followed by a win over Magdalena Rybarikova when the Slovak retired at the end of the first set when trailing 2-6; and then disposed of the Russian wild card Alisa Kleybanova. Halep’s semi-final opponent was Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Player Bio), who dispatched Caroline Garcis 6-0 6-3 in the first round, 3rd seeded Maria Kirirlenko 6-3 6-3 in the second round and Daniela Hantuchova 6-0 6-4 in the quarters. Pavlyuchenkova’s heavy groundies were no match for the fine court craft of Halep who totally outplayed her 6-2 6-1 in an hour and a quarter to make her 5th final of the 2013 season, having won all of the previous four.