Panova Survives Close Encounter In Cali

On another day of tight matches at the Copa Bionaire, Alexandra Panova overcame two match points in edging Eugenie Bouchard.

Published February 14, 2013 11:04

Panova Survives Close Encounter In Cali
Alexandra Panova

CALI, Colombia - On a Thursday full of dramatic matches, Alexandra Panova's second round victory over Eugenie Bouchard at the Copa Bionaire was perhaps the most thrilling.

After splitting the first two sets, the fourth-seeded Panova went down 5-1 in the third set and had two match points against her on Bouchard's serve at 5-2. However, the Russian came roaring back to force a tie-break, where she cruised to a 5-0 lead en route to a 36 75 76(4) triumph. In the two-hour, 45-minute battle, each player broke serve five times and Bouchard actually won two more points than Panova, 112 to 110.

Close matches have been the trend all week in Cali, as 11 of the 24 matches played overall and six of the eight second rounders went three sets. One of those involved Panova's quarterfinal opponent, Paula Ormaechea. The Argentine blew three set points in the first set tie-break but rolled through the second and third sets of her 67(8) 62 61 defeat of Estrella Cabeza Candela.

The top half of the draw saw a major upset, with Colombia's own Mariana Duque-Mariño rallying from a 64 42 deficit, and from 64 54 only losing one more game the rest of the way in toppling No.1 seed Mandy Minella, 46 75 61. With this being the third WTA 125K Series event after the series debuted last fall, a No.1 seed has yet to go beyond the quarterfinals.

Next up for Duque-Mariño is sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina. The 18-year-old Ukrainian overcame a set point against her at 6-5 in the first set and eventually got past Julia Cohen, 76(2) 76(5).

"It was a really tough match for me," Svitolina said. "She's a tough player and has a difficult game style to go up against. I'm happy that everything went well and that I came out on top."

Svitolina is now 7-0 at WTA 125K Series events, having taken the title last November in Pune. She also recently picked up her fifth ITF Women's Circuit title in Eilat and came into this week ranked a career high No.102.

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