Makarova pulls out at TOC

Sofia, Bulgaria ( – After going 0-2 in round-robin play
this week, top seed Ekaterina Makarova withdrew from her scheduled match
Friday at the $750,000 WTA Tournament of Champions.

The U.S. Open semifinalist was scheduled to meet third-seeded Italian Flavia
Pennetta but instead pulled out of the season-ending event on the indoor
hardcourt at Sofia’s Armeets Arena.

Pennetta is now facing first alternate Karolina Pliskova in Friday’s round-
robin nightcap.

Meanwhile, fifth-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro handled eighth-seeded
Bulgarian crowd favorite Tsvetana Pironkova 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 and seventh-seeded
rising Spaniard Garbine Muguruza took care of sixth-seeded Frenchwoman Alize
Cornet 6-3, 7-5 on Day 4. Suarez Navarro (2-1) qualified for Saturday’s
semifinals, while the 21-year-old Muguruza (3-0) swept her way through round-
robin play and also qualified for the semis by winning the four-player Serdika

The Serdika Group featured Makarova (0-2), Pennetta (1-1), Cornet
(1-2) and Muguruza, before Pliskova joined the fray. Either Pennetta or Cornet
will join Muguruza in the semis from this group.

The four-woman Sredets Group featured second-seeded Australian Open runner-up
Dominika Cibulkova (2-1), fourth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic (2-1), Suarez
Navarro and Pironkova (0-3). Petkovic qualified for the semis here on
Thursday. Cibulkova and Pironkova both failed to reach this week’s final four.

This eight-player season-ending tournament is for players who have won one or
more of the WTA International events during the year but failed to qualify
for the WTA Finals, which was staged in Singapore last week.

The Tournament of Champions will move to Zhuhai, China, next year after a
three-year run here in Sofia.