Wuhan (China), Sep 30 (IANS) WTA rising star Anna Karolina Schmiedlova came back from the brink to upset former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in a marathon second round encounter at the Wuhan Open.
Trailing by a set and 4-1 on Tuesday, Schmiedlova appeared to be heading towards the exit only to produce a turnaround worthy of her esteemed opponent, reports Xinhua.
Displaying poise that belied her tender 21 years, Schmiedlova held her nerve to prevail 1-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), in a contest lasting over three hours.
Schmiedlova, who going into the match had never beaten a top 10 player, struggled to conceal her emotion and exhaustion.
“I’m very, very happy and, very, very tired right now!” she said in her on-court interview.
Victory over Wozniacki is the latest highlight of a year to remember for Schmiedlova, who is making a beeline for the top 20, thanks to titles in Katowice and Bucharest and a number of reputation-enhancing showings elsewhere. However, for the first set and a half against the Dane, her busy schedule looked to have finally caught up with her.
Perhaps buoyed by her recent good form, the Slovak never stopped believing, pinching the second set from under the nose of a disbelieving Wozniacki. Both players had their moments in the decider, but it was the younger player’s shots that appeared to pack more of a punch.
None more so than the crosscourt backhand that followed another energy-sapping rally to bring up two match points in the tie-break. While these came and went, there was to be no denying Schmiedlova her moment, crossing the finishing line when Wozniacki’s weary limbs sent the ball beyond the baseline.
Schmiedlova will now face Kristina Mladenovic for a place in the quarter-finals. “I’m working hard and I never thought that I would have such a good ranking and have won two WTA tournaments. Hopefully I can still go further this week.”
“I’m so happy and this season is already like a dream for me,” she said.
Ana Ivanovic continued her impressive progress through the draw with a straight-set victory over Madison Brengle.
Having dropped just four games in her opening round triumph over Alexandra Dulgheru, Ivanovic, the No.9 seed, went one better against Brengle, completing a 6-0, 6-3 win in just 72 minutes.
The confidence oozing through Ivanovic’s game was clear for all to see as early as the second game, a beautifully disguised drop shot bringing up the first break point of the match. She called on the same stroke to capture the second break, and with just 28 minutes on the clock the set was hers.
Ivanovic retains an outside chance of qualifying for the WTA Finals Singapore, although to do so she will need to go deep into the draw both here in Wuhan and also at next week’s China Open.
In the third round she will face No.5 seed Garbine Muguruza, who breezed past Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-0.
Victoria Azarenka retired from her match when she was trailing 6-4, 1-0 to Britain’s qualifier Johanna Konta. Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, seeded 11th, also withdrew after she lost first set 6-2 to Camila Giorgi of Italy.
Seventh seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, and Angelique Kerber, seeded sixth, outlasted Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. Other seeded players to advance include Elina Svitolina, seeded 12th, and Roberta Vinci, the 15th seed. Madison Keys, seeded 14th, suffered a 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 defeat to Kristina Mladenovic.