NEW YORK, NY, USA - Daniela Hantuchova came from the absolute brink of defeat to beat Julia Glushko on Saturday, making the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in over two years.
Glushko had made a breakthrough run out of the qualifying and into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time, and she really was on the verge of taking that run a step further - she built a 63 52 lead and was two points from victory as Hantuchova fell behind 0-30 on her serve in that game, and after losing eight straight games to lose that second set and fall behind 3-0 in the third, Glushko clawed her way back into the lead again, holding four match points in a tense 5-4 game in that third set.
But Hantuchova never stopped fighting, and after saving all those match points and pushing it to a third set tie-break she came alive, storming out to a 6-2 lead and, after missing out on her own first two match points, finishing the marathon off on a forehand swinging volley winner, 36 75 76(4).
Hantuchova is now through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time since the French Open in 2011. She has reached the quarterfinals or better four times at Grand Slams, with three straight quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2002 and the Australian Open in 2003, and then the best run of them all, a semifinal at the Australian Open in 2008 (falling to Ana Ivanovic).
Another fourth round match-up that was set up was No.21 seed Simona Halep against Flavia Pennetta. Halep let just three winners past her in a 51-minute, 61 60 victory over No.16 seed Maria Kirilenko, while Pennetta defeated No.27 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova for the first time in six tries, 75 61.
"It was the best match ever for me," Halep said of her win against Kirilenko. "I played incredible today. No mistakes. Before the match I wanted to be more aggressive on the court - I did very well.
"She's a great player, a top player, and I just wanted to enjoy the match and try my best."
Halep has now won 32 of her last 37 matches at the WTA main draw level, picking up her first four WTA titles during the summer, and now she's into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.
"I played really well in New Haven last week, the best week in my life, and when I came here I just wanted to keep my energy on," Halep said. "My first round match against Heather Watson was very difficult because she had a set and 4-3 - but I came back. That match was very important for me."
Pennetta has beaten Halep in both of their previous meetings, though both of those meetings came on clay, and the last one - at Bastad right after Wimbledon during the summer - came via retirement.
"Next round will be tough because I play against Pennetta," Halep said. "I played against her in Bastad this year. I was a little bit injured there, but I played well. So it's going to be a good challenge for me."