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Russian players fill St Petersburg semis

Margarita Gasparyan has upset top seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 7-5 as Russian players continued to dominate at the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy, filling all four semi-final places.

The 126th-ranked Gasparyan saved three of the six break points she faced and broke Alexandrova six times to set up a last-four clash with Vera Zvonareva, who dispatched qualifier Anastasia Gasanova 6-3 6-1.

Svetlana Kuznetsova, the No.4 seed, rallied to beat the only non-Russian in the quarter-finals, Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian, 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-3, and will next face Daria Kasatkina.

Kasatkina also had to fight hard, coming back from a set down to beat Veronika Kudermetova 1-6 6-1 6-2 in the last quarter-final.

It was the first time Russia has had seven players in the quarter-finals of a tournament.

The WTA Tour said that the last time seven players from one country reached the last-eight of a tour-level event was in 1993, when seven Americans were in the Oakland quarter-finals.

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