Stosur in semi-final as big names tumble

Kvitova favourite in low-key last four as the year-ending tournament looks like a damp squib

The women's season reaches its finale here this weekend but the six biggest names in the game will not be around to take part in it.

Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters never made it to the start line for the year-ending TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships, and Li Na yesterday joined Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki in failing to reach the last four. Instead, today's semi-finals will see Victoria Azarenka take on Vera Zvonareva, while Sam Stosur will play Petra Kvitova.

Stosur secured her passage with a crushing 6-1, 6-0 winner-takes-all victory over Li. Zvonareva owed her qualification to Kvitova's 7-6, 6-3 win against Agnieszka Radwanska. Kvitova had already qualified for the latter stages going into her last round-robin match, while Radwanska needed to win only a set to deny Zvonareva.

Having won all three of her matches so far this week, Kvitova would earn $1.75m (almost £1.1m) by lifting the title in her first appearance at the year-end championships, which is almost as much as the 21-year-old Czech picked up after winning Wimbledon. Kvitova also has her eyes on the world No 2 ranking behind Wozniacki. Kvitova has already accumulated enough points to overtake Sharapova, the current No 2, but Azarenka could yet overtake both.

At this stage of the year fitness and form can count for everything. Sharapova withdrew with an ankle injury after her first two matches here, while Wozniacki has been unwell and looked decidedly below-par in the defeat to Kvitova that sealed her fate. Li did not report any physical problems apart from feeling heavy-legged but played poorly against Stosur.

While Zvonareva has won only one title – a minor event in Azerbaijan – since February, the three other semi-finalists have all enjoyed good runs in the latter half of the year. Kvitova, who suffered a dip in form after winning Wimbledon, bounced back to win a tournament in Linz last month, Azarenka came here fresh from victory in Luxembourg last weekend, while Stosur won the US Open and subsequently reached the final in Osaka.

Elena Baltacha, the British No 1, is through to the semi-finals of the $100,000 ITF event in Poitiers, France, after beating Poland's Magda Linette 6-3, 6-3. Anne Keothavong, the British No 3, reached the final of the Aegon GB Pro-Series tournament in Barnstaple thanks to a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Germany's Mona Barthel. She now plays Poland's Marta Domachowska.

The Braehead Arena in Glasgow will stage Britain's Davis Cup tie against the Slovak Republic in February. Leon Smith's team played their last two ties at the same venue.

ITV has agreed a three-year deal to cover the French Open beginning next year. It is the first time ITV has covered a Grand Slam tournament.

Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living