Sara Errani battled past a familiar foe at the Rio Open to reach her first quarterfinal since the US Open. Up next is a young Brazilian having the best week of her career.
WTA Staff

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Sara Errani held off a late surge from Lourdes Domínguez Lino to reach the quarterfinals of the Rio Open - her first WTA quarterfinal since the US Open last September.

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Errani came out strong, winning the first seven games of the match to lead 6-0, 1-0, but Domínguez Lino came alive from there, matching Errani shot for shot from the baseline to stay very even for the next hour - 1-all, 2-all, 3-all and so on until the two players were locked at 5-all in the second set.

That's when the No.1-seeded Errani pounced, breaking one last time and then fighting off three break points in the next game to close out the 65-minute second set and finally the match, 6-0, 7-5.

Errani's last quarterfinal came at the US Open (falling to eventual finalist Caroline Wozniacki).

"I'm in the quarterfinals now, so I still just want to think match by match, but of course I hope I can win the title here," Errani said after the match. "There are a lot of difficult players here in Rio de Janeiro. It's not easy to think ahead like that - I just have to think about my next opponent and that's all."

Next up for the former World No.5 is Brazilian wildcard Beatriz Haddad Maia, who upset No.7 seed Polona Hercog in just 69 minutes, 6-1, 6-2. She saved the only break point she faced in the match.

The 18-year-old Haddad Maia's win is something of a milestone - she's just the second Brazilian since 1999 to reach a WTA quarterfinal, after Teliana Pereira (who has done it twice since then).

That wasn't the only upset of the day, as Veronica Cepede Royg - a qualifier into the draw, and Paraguay's No.1 player at the moment - took out the tournament's No.3 seed, Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-3.

Next up for Cepede Royg is No.6 seed Anna Schmiedlova, who beat Paula Ormaechea, 6-0, 6-2.

Schmiedlova, a WTA Rising Star, is best known for beating Venus Williams at Roland Garros last year.

"It was the best match of my life," Schmiedlova recalled. "I played really well that day. I couldn't believe I beat such a good player on center court. She played really well that day too, but I was moving well, and I was so happy I managed to win it. To me it's still the best match I've ever played.

"I really like playing on clay. And of course I like playing on the clay here in Rio."

Both Schmiedlova and Cepede Royg will be playing the first WTA quarterfinals of their careers.

Errani against Haddad Maia and Schmiedlova against Cepede Royg will both be first-time meetings.