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Bondarenko Into QFs, Brianti Battles Again

Former Top 20 player Alona Bondarenko won again in Copenhagen in her comeback from injury.

Published June 08, 2011 12:00

Bondarenko Into QFs, Brianti Battles Again
Alona Bondarenko

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Italy's Alberta Brianti kept on fighting at the e-Boks Sony Ericsson Open on Wednesday afternoon, battling from a set and a break down to reach the quarterfinals of the International tournament and set up a potential clash with the world's No.1 player, Caroline Wozniacki.

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Brianti, the No.8 seed, had rallied from 5-2 down in the third set to win her first round match and was again pressed in the second round, dropping the first set and getting broken in the first game of the next one. She even faced two points to go down 63 20; but she escaped that and beat Zuzana Kucova, 36 64 61.

"I didn't start so well. I wasn't so patient and missed a lot of shots trying to finish off the points too early, but I started focusing more and playing my game," Brianti said. "I'm happy to get the victory and move into the quarterfinals."

Brianti is playing the best tennis of her career at 31, recently taking her first WTA title at Fès and this week setting a new career-high of No.57 in the world. She could have a tough task next, however - she will face Wozniacki if the 20-year-old Dane wins her match on Thursday. "It's always fantastic to play the No.1, so I hope to enjoy it and do my best, and we will see," Brianti added.

The only other seed in action wasn't so fortunate, as No.5 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova was ousted by German qualifier Mona Barthel, 76(2) 64. Zahlavova Strycova closed in from 5-1 to 5-4 in the second set but the 19-year-old Barthel served up a love game to close the encounter out.

"She made only a few errors so I had to do a lot on my own, serve well and be brave," said Barthel, who is now in her first WTA quarterfinal. "She fought a lot and when she came back I'm happy I made that last game. I know I can beat the best players, I just need to play my game and believe in myself."

While Brianti and Barthel won't be sure of their quarterfinal opponents until Thursday, one quarterfinal match-up was set in stone: Alona Bondarenko versus Petra Martic. Bondarenko was the first to advance, beating No.2 seed Klara Zakopalova's conqueror, Kathrin Woerle, 60 16 62. Bondarenko is in just her third event of the year, missing the first five months with a knee injury.

"I played better this match than in the first one. I hope the next one will also be good for me," Bondarenko said. "I'm not playing as well as I was before my injury, but after a few more tournaments I hope to get closer to that level."

Martic wrapped up the day's action with a near-three hour win over Simona Halep, squandering a 5-1 lead in the second set as well as a 3-1 lead in the third set before eventually closing out her fellow up-and-comer, 63 57 75.

"It didn't really matter how I won this match, it just mattered which one of us did it," Martic said. "At 5-1 in the second set suddenly she started playing better. I had a breakdown at the end of that set. In the end my fighting won, that's all."

Bondarenko and Martic will be playing each other for the first time.

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