Shahar Stays Hot

Shahar Peer won in straight sets, while Akgul Amanmuradova had a tough time, but advanced.

Published September 24, 2009 05:22

Shahar Stays Hot
Shahar Peer

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Tashkent Open veteran Akgul Amanmuradova, who was born in and lives in Tashkent and is playing this event for the 10th straight year, had a dramatic second round victory on Thursday.

Amanmuradova, whose best results here have been a 2005 runner-up showing and a 2007 quarterfinal appearance, edged Ekaterina Bychkova, 46 75 76(4), a couple of months after falling to her in their first career encounter in the semifinals of the ITF event in Contrexeville, France. This time, Bychkova was up 3-1 in the third set and served for the match at 5-4 before Amanmuradova rallied.

"Today is a big day for me to win at home, and revenge for my loss to Bychkova a few weeks ago. If I had won that match, I would have qualified for the US Open," Amanmuradova said. "Ekaterina is a very good player and deserves all praise for her performance today. The way she has been playing is solid. She's a fighter and I had to fight hard for the win. It gives me a lot of confidence about my game."

In her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour quarterfinal of the year on Friday, Amanmuradova will play No.5 seed Stefanie Voegele. Also on the top half of the draw, No.1 seed Yaroslava Shvedova and No.6 seed Monica Niculescu will square off.

On the bottom half of the draw, qualifier Alexandra Panova got past seventh-seeded Patricia Mayr, 75 61, the Russian's first victory in their three career meetings. A week after making her first-ever Tour singles quarterfinal in Guangzhou, Panova has now reached her second.

"Patricia was the clear favorite. In the first few games I didn't know what was happening, but as the match progressed I felt I had a chance to win," Panova said. "It feels incredible to be in the quarterfinals of a Tour event for the second time in two weeks. I've managed to beat higher-ranked players in back-to-back matches and reach the last eight; it's just incredible."

Next up for Panova is No.2 seed Shahar Peer, who handled Kathrin Woerle, 62 64. Peer and Woerle just had their first career clash last week in the first round at Guangzhou, which the Israeli also won in straight sets en route to the title. Also Thursday, No.4 seed Olga Govortsova topped Vesna Manasieva, 62 63. Her best result in four previous appearances here is the semifinals in 2007, and she will match that result if she defeats fellow Belarusian Darya Kustova in the next round. That match will be her fifth Tour quarterfinal of 2009, having lost in the quarters in Brisbane, 's-Hertogenbosch, Palermo and Istanbul.

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