WUHAN, China - France's Caroline Garcia continued her run at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, beating Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 6-4 to secure her place in the semifinals.
Garcia had already despatched former World No.1 Angelique Kerber, America's Christina McHale and seventh seed Dominika Cibulkova to set up her clash with Makarova.
The Frenchwoman, ranked N0.20 in the world, began the match with a love service game, but was broken shortly afterwards as Makarova edged in front. There were few rallies on display, and a sluggish Garcia called for her coach; following that break, she won three games in a row.
It was inevitable that such a tight set should progress to a tiebreak, and Garcia raced to a 4-0 lead. Makarova battled back, but found herself unable to defend set points on her serve, losing the breaker 7-3.
Makarova started the second set badly, with her first double fault of the match, but managed to regain her composure to hold serve, and broke Garcia in the next game.
But Garcia won three games in a row - two of them breaks - to nudge in front, and looked comfortable until she missed the chance to break the Makarova serve once more, allowing her opponent to close the gap to 4-3.
A love service game boosted Garcia's confidence once more, and though Makarova's third ace of the day kept her in it, the 23-year-old was not to be denied, serving it out to love once more to take the match in straight sets.
After the match, Garcia spoke about her opponent's battling qualities and how it forced her to maintain her performance level. "I want to play this kind of match, it's what I work for outside the court," she said.
"There is a lot of intensity. That's a match you enjoy the most actually. There is fighting, there is stress, there is everything. In this kind of match you learn the most. You take experience. I'm just very happy. I stayed very calm through the match, and it was very important."
Her semifinal opponent will be either compatriot Alizé Cornet or qualifier Maria Sakkari.