Francesca Fights Off Eight Match Points

Francesca Schiavone was down 6-0 in the third set tie-break versus Irina-Camelia Begu, but prevailed to make the UNICEF Open quarters.

Published June 20, 2012 07:55

Francesca Fights Off Eight Match Points
Francesca Schiavone

'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Francesca Schiavone came back from the brink of defeat for the second straight match on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the UNICEF Open.

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Schiavone fought off a match point in coming back from 5-3 down in the third set of her first round victory over Maria Kirilenko. Then in the second round against Irina-Camelia Begu, she found herself seemingly finished at 6-0 down in the third set tie-break. However, she reeled off six straight points to tie it up, fought off two more match points from there and finally clinched it on her first match point for a 62 26 76(8) triumph.

"When I started the tie-break, I said 'Francesca, come on, pay attention and take two or three of the first six or seven points.' Nothing, 6-0," Schiavone said. "I went to the other side and told myself there is not too big a difference in winning or lose one point, so keep going and push. We will see what happens. And then I won."

It may take even greater an effort for Schiavone to advance further, though, as she plays Kim Clijsters in Thursday's quarters. She is 0-11 all-time against the Belgian without ever having won a set, though they have not played since 2006.

"I'm really happy to play against her," Schiavone said. "I think it's a fantastic opportunity for both of us to play a high-level match before a Grand Slam and get more time in on the grass."

Also making the final eight was defending champion and No.6 seed Roberta Vinci, a 63 67(4) 60 victor over Monica Niculescu.

"It was a tough match but I played really well today, especially in the first set," Vinci said. "I like to play on grass and I like 's-Hertogenbosch. I won last year so I have good memories here, and I'm happy to be in the quarterfinals."

Other winners were Sofia Arvidsson and Kirsten Flipkens. From 4-3 down in the first set, Arvidsson captured eight straight games en route to a 64 61 victory over Arantxa Rus. Up 5-1 in the second set against fellow qualifier Daria Gavrilova, Flipkens lost five straight games before eventually taking it in the tie-break for a 75 76(4) win. The Belgian is playing her first WTA main draw since last year's Wimbledon and is into first quarterfinal since her run to the semifinals at Fès in April 2011.

In doubles action, top-seeded Sara Errani and Vinci got past Dominika Cibulkova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to make the final, where they will be going for their fifth straight title. Their 22-match win streak is the best on the WTA since Cara Black and Liezel Huber also won 22 in a row in 2007. Also, Schiavone edged Begu for the second time of the day, pairing up with Flavia Pennetta to oust Begu and Niculescu in quarterfinal play.

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