Bulgaria’s top-ranked female tennis player, Tsvetana Pironkova, reached her first WTA Tour final at the Apia International in Sydney after defeating Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-4.
Pironkova has been a regular fixture in the WTA Tour top 50 and her career highlight has been reaching the semi-final of the 2010 Wimbledon (defeating Venus Williams along the way), followed by a quarterfinal appearance a year later. But she went through a very disappointing year in 2013, falling out of the top 100 and is currently ranked 107th.
Nevertheless, in defeating world number six Kvitova, Pironkova notched the tenth win against a top-10 ranked player of her career only a day after her ninth, over world number seven Sara Errani. Pironkova will need to follow them up with the eleventh if she is to claim her first WTA Tour title, as she is to face Angelique Kerber of Germany, ranked ninth in the world.
The two have met twice before, with Kerber taking the first match in Nassau in 2011, while Pironkova won their second meeting, in Doha in 2012. Their final match will be played on January 10.
(Tsvetana Pironkova celebrates winning against Zheng Jie at the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofia in 2012. Photo: sofia-tennis.bg)