Pironkova Recovers To Upset No.3 Seed
Published January 09, 2013 11:52
Last week in Shenzhen, Zakopalova reached the 12th final of her career before losing a tight three setter to Li Na, and she continued this rich vein of form against Pironkova, racing through the first four games as a stream of winners pierced both the windy conditions and her opponent's defenses.
The set soon followed, but the Czech's high-risk strategy started to catch up with her at the start of the second, Pironkova capitalizing on the rising unforced error count to open up a 4-1 lead. Despite a late wobble, Pironkova hung on to level the match at one set all, before reeling off six straight games to wrap up a 36 64 62 victory.
"It was a slow start for sure," Pironkova said. "Conditions were a bit hard, it was windy and her balls were very fast, she hits the ball very hard so I needed a bit of time to adjust to that."
The win takes Pironkova into the quarterfinals in Hobart for the second time in her career and here she will face defending champion Mona Barthel.
"I'm expecting a tough job tomorrow, she's a really, really good player. I've practiced with her several times so I kind of know what to expect, but practice is a lot different from a normal match so we'll see," Pironkova added.
Niculescu's reward for this dogged display is a meeting with the high-flying Kirsten Flipkens. Over the closing months of 2012 and the start of 2013, Flipkens has been in the form of her career, winning 16 of her last 19 matches on tour.
Win number 16 came on Wednesday afternoon, as an outgunned Bojana Jovanovski was swatted aside, 63 62, in under an hour.
"It was pretty windy and I knew it could be quite scrappy, so I made sure I defended well and made her play a lot of balls," Gajdosova said. "In the second set, I think the wind died down a little and I could get a little more rhythm on my serve and groundstrokes.
"It's nice to be in the quarters and get some matches under my belt. My tennis still isn't quite where I want it to be but it's a good start and with each match I'm getting better."