Medina & Vinci Pull Off Quarterfinal Comebacks
Published July 08, 2011 12:00
BUDAPEST, Hungary - In her first week as a Top 25 player, Roberta Vinci battled back from the brink of defeat to move into the semifinals of the POLI-FARBE Budapest Grand Prix on Friday afternoon, staving off two match points to hold off the relentless attack of Slovakia's Zuzana Kucova, 46 76(3) 63.
Vinci, the top seed at the clay court event, found herself down 64 52 and serving 15-40, but a few groundstroke errors from the 29-year-old Kucova allowed Vinci back into the match. Brick by brick the 28-year-old Italian built her comeback, mixing ventures into the net with some pinpoint drop shots - including one on set point - to even it at a set apiece. She won the third set in just 28 minutes.
"The match was tough, just like yesterday against Babos," said Vinci, who was two points from losing her second round match. "Zuzana is a good player. She was playing well and fighting for every point. I was trying to keep the ball in the court but also play as aggressively as possible. I also tried several drop shots and many of them worked because it's such a slow court.
"I'm really happy I turned the match around. It was a great victory for me."
Next for Vinci will be No.3 seed Klara Zakopalova, who won the first 10 games of her match against Kateryna Bondarenko and eventually closed out the Ukrainian, 60 64. Vinci leads Zakopalova in their head-to-head series, 2-1, although the pair hasn't played in five years, since Palermo in July 2006.
The other semifinal will pit No.5 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues against No.7 seed Irina-Camelia Begu. Medina Garrigues was the first to move through, recording a dramatic 46 75 30 retirement victory over Sara Errani, saving a match point down 64 54 and pushing it to a third set, then winning three more games before the No.2-seeded Errani had to retire due to cramping; Begu had a handier 63-minute, 60 63 win over Spanish qualifier Estrella Cabeza Candela.
"In the second set I just tried to focus on what my coach told me. I was 5-3 down but fought hard and managed to win that," Medina Garrigues said. "Sara started cramping in the third set and I took a 3-0 lead before she had to retire. It was a really tough match. I'm happy to win, but I hope Sara will recover."
Medina Garrigues is only focused on Begu now. "My goal is to continue to play how I'm playing," the 28-year-old Spanish No.1 added. "I'm just trying to do what my coach has been telling me: play and enjoy the game!"
Medina Garrigues and Begu will be playing each other for the first time.