WTA Tournament of Champions: Ivanovic and Halep win, Kirilenko withdraws

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Simona Halep


The Garanti Koza WTA Tournament of Champions being played this week in the Bulgarian city of Sofia is, like its big sister the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships which was played in Istanbul last week, is played in a round robin format with the eight competing players split into two groups of four players each. Group Serdika comprised top seed Simona Halep, 3rd seed Maria Kirilenko, 6th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 7th seed Alize Cornet. Group Sredets has 2nd seed Ana Ivanovic, 4th seed Sam Stosur, 5th seed Elena Vesnina and the Bulgarian wildcard, Tsvetsana Pironkova.

The tournament got off to a disappointing start for the home fans who have the opportunity of watching some of the brightest stars on the WTA tour battle it out for the title. In the first match on Armeec Arena, Ivanovic took on Pironkova – both wild cards. The Serb was in fine form and totally outplayed the Bulgarian in all aspects of the game, winning 6-0 6-2 in just 55 minutes on court.

The match between Kirilenko and Cornet followed, but the Russian retired injured when the Frenchwoman led 5-0 in the first set. She pulled out of the tournament, stating that her knee injury would not allow her to play on in the round robin part of the draw and was replaced by the first alternate player, Elina Svitolina.

The final match was also short and to the point. Top seeded Halep played Pavlyuchenkova and it became a duel fought between a powerful baseline hitter and a deft all court player who has every shot in the book. The match ended with Halep winning 6-3 6-3 in just an hour and eight minutes.

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