BUCHAREST, Romania - No.8 seed Polona Hercog showed her veteran experience against 20-year-old Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse, winning the final six games of a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 tussle against the hometown favorite to advance at the BRD Bucharest Open.
"I wasn’t really playing too much lately because I had some shoulder issue in the past week, so I wasn’t feeling the most comfortable on the court," Hercog admitted after the match. "She was playing really well in the first set, but I knew I am the favorite in this match, so I just tried to stay tough and to keep her in the match and take the upper-hand."
A former World No.35, Hercog has tended to enjoy her best results on clay, finishing runner-up at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup earlier this year, while Ruse put on a thrilling display to nearly unseat 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska at the All England Club just two weeks ago.
"We are used with these kind of things, I expected that there would be most on her side but I heard some people also cheering for me and clapping on my points. "
Ruse showed her own comfort on clay to win the first set and take a double break advantage in the decider, but Hercog proved too strong in the end, triumphing after two hours and two minutes on Centre Court.
"I was nervous, I was feeling really poor I would say, not serving well and in some moments having game points and not using it, it really frustrated me, so I just put my anger out a little bit, but it actually helped me. I turned it all around in the third set."
Up next for the Slovenian is either qualifier Irina Bara or Viktoriya Tomova, who played Serena Williams at Wimbledon in her best-ever Grand Slam result.
Earlier in the day, No.7 seed and Istanbul Cup champion Pauline Parmentier recovered from a set down to defeat Alexandra Dulgheru in three sets.