MOSCOW, Russia - The second round of the Kremlin Cup wrapped up on Thursday and it wasn't just the usual suspects making it through to the quarterfinals - Russian-born Serbian Vesna Dolonc achieved the feat too.
Dolonc, a qualifier at the Premier event, routed Simona Halep, 61 60, winning 11 straight games from 1-all to reach her third and biggest WTA quarterfinal, after runs at Pattaya City in 2008 and Bastad in 2011, both Internationals.
"I had good tactics against Halep. I'm comfortable playing against her game," Dolonc said. "I was attacking her forehand and after three or four shots she would make a short ball, then I could make the point myself. I was really attacking that side. And I wasn't missing too much today - that's another key when you play her, if you start missing, that's it. You're going to lose to her.
"Still, I didn't think it would go so fast and I would win, 61 60. I didn't expect it at all. I thought we would be out there for three hours or something."
Having gone to three sets in two of her qualifying matches, as well as in her first match of the main draw, Dolonc is as surprised as anyone with the week's happenings. "I feel like I've been playing very well but I didn't expect anything from this tournament at all. When I was playing the qualifying, I thought it would be nice to get through there and get into the main draw. That's it, really.
"When I was a very small kid I was coming to the Kremlin Cup to watch, and it was my dream to be on the center court, playing big matches. I'm so happy!"
Next up for Dolonc is fellow Serb and No.4 seed Ana Ivanovic, who also won in straight sets, beating Russian qualifier Valeria Solovieva earlier on, 61 64.
Ivanovic and Dolonc haven't played, but Dolonc does have two Top 20 wins, over Anabel Medina Garrigues at Portoroz in 2009 and Marion Bartoli at the Australian Open in 2011 - but the only time she played a player in the Top 15, she lost handily to Francesca Schiavone at the French Open in 2011, 61 62.
"I don't know much about her and haven't seen her play lately, but she's had a great run this tournament and beat Halep, who was playing very well," Ivanovic said. "I'm really happy to see her do well. Hopefully we have a good match."
No.7 seed Maria Kirilenko overcame a slow start to beat Yaroslava Shvedova, winning seven straight games from 5-1 down in the first set and eventually beating the talented Kazakh in straight sets, 75 64.
"This year Slava has beaten good players, and she started at such a high level today," Kirilenko said. "For me it was difficult to show her something as well, but then I won the seven games and changed the match. I found the key to beat her and started playing more aggressive, and finally I won, so I'm happy."
At night, No.1 seed Samantha Stosur survived a marathon two-hour, 29-minute two-setter with Alizé Cornet, 76(6) 75. Cornet was up a break twice in the first set and again by a break in the second set, even holding three set points at 5-4 in the second set; but Stosur survived each time to prevail.