BAKU, Azerbaijan - On a wild Quarterfinal Thursday at the Baku Cup in which all who lost the first set advanced and the four matches lasted a combined 10 hours, 27 minutes, Bojana Jovanovski's triumph was especially memorable.
The fifth-seeded Jovanovski edged fellow Serb Aleksandra Krunic, 57 76(3) 63, in a showdown that went three hours, 16 minutes, included a 90-minute second set and featured 17 breaks of serve. It was the second-longest main draw match of the year, just one minute shorter than Alexandra Cadantu's second round win over Alizé Cornet in Palermo two weeks ago. Jovanovski and Krunic's one previous encounter was also a battle, with Krunic prevailing 7-6 in the third set at an ITF Women's Circuit event in Quanzhou in 2010.
In her second career semifinal after Sydney in 2011, Jovanovski will take on a player also coming off a marathon win. No.2 seed Alexandra Panova's 26 76(5) 64 defeat of fellow Russian and Baku doubles partner Nina Bratchikova lasted two hours, 55 minutes. Bratchikova served for the match at 5-4 in the second set and was two points from victory at 5-5 in the tie-break, but Panova rallied and in the third got the key break at 4-4 en route to surviving. Interestingly enough, the day before against Sandra Zaniewska, Panova was also two points from elimination in the second set tie-break.
Friday's other semifinal will involve two players who should be rested by comparison - Julia Cohen, whose quarterfinal went a mere two hours, 31 minutes and Olga Puchkova, who was on court one hour, 45 minutes.
Despite being outaced, 10-0, Cohen was a 36 63 64 winner over Magdalena Rybarikova to reach her first final four in just her third WTA event. On top of that, she also made her first doubles semifinal alongside Sacha Jones by edging Alla Kudryavtseva and Tamarine Tanasugarn, 36 64 119.
Puchkova got past third-seeded Mandy Minella, 26 61 62, raising her record to 3-0 in their series and putting her into her first semifinal since a runner-up showing at Québec City in November 2006.