Nadia Petrova and Marion Bartoli fought their way to Carlsbad semifinals. The Russian and the French won the three-set thrillers against the home-crowd favorites Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale.
The experienced Petrova remains undefeated in her head to head encounters against four years younger Lepchenko. Carlstad quarterfinal schedule paired them up for the third time in their careers, and Petrova needed three sets to fight her way to the 2012 Mercury Insurance Open semis. She won the first set, but defiant Lepchenko equalized the score with a smooth victory in the second. In an hour-long third set both of the players kept their serves all the way to the deciding tie-break. The match ended with 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in fourth-seeded Petrova’s favor.
Top seed Bartoli and fifth-seeded McHale played for almost three-hours. Although none of the sets in this tennis marathon went to the tie-break, the match was marked by exhausting rallies and long games. This was especially characteristic for the second set when McHale managed to level the score. The favorite Bartoli nonetheless stayed composed and fresh enough to secure the victory in the last set: 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
Semifinal pairs: Bartoli vs. Chan, Cibulkova vs. Petrova. (Saturday, July 21)