MIAMI, FL, USA - It may not have been the ideal way to win but Andrea Petkovic won through to the third round of the Premier-level Sony Open Tennis nonetheless, moving past Marion Bartoli when the No.10-seeded Frenchwoman had to retire from their match down 63 41 due to a left foot injury.
Petkovic, who is playing just her second WTA event of the year after missing the first two and a half months with a knee injury, was falling behind fast in the first set, serving 1-3, 0-30 - but things turned on a dime from there as she won nine of the next 10 games to build a pretty hefty 63 41 lead.
That was when Bartoli's pain became too much and she had to stop, Petkovic winning by retirement.
"I was really happy with my movement today - that's a part of my game my coach and I have been working on a lot, because with all of my injuries I'm still trying to know where I stand," Petkovic said. "I was also really satisfied with the way I stuck through with the match plan my coach gave me.
"I'm feeling fine - I still find the matches affect my body more than my practice does, but that's normal with the stress hormones and everything, but this week is already much better than Indian Wells.
"I'm just getting used to everything again, kind of, and just taking it match by match."
Meanwhile another seed was in trouble, although it was a much longer, more drawn out battle - No.17 seed Lucie Safarova suffered a 76(4) 46 76(5) loss to Romina Oprandi, never getting to match point but still missing out on a huge opportunity in the third set tie-break - she led 5-1 at one point.
The last two matches of the day finished at night, with No.25 seed Varvara Lepchenko beating Irina-Camelia Begu, 63 64, and No.19 seed Venus Williams just edging Kimiko Date-Krumm in two hours and 34 minutes, 76(3) 36 64 - Williams won just two more points in the match than Date-Krumm, 106 to 104, and also needed seven match points to finish the wily Japanese veteran off in the third set.
"She played really well on those match points," Williams said. "What can I do when she plays like that? Those net cords, the balls at my toenails - it's tough when you reach the finish line and just can't seem to get across, but all the credit to her, she was hitting some amazing shots under pressure.
"She's the kind of player who's hard to stop once she gets hot - you just have to hang in there."
One reporter added, "Pretty impressive for 42."
"Oh my gosh," Williams replied, "she's totally my role model."
It has been exactly one year since Williams came back to the tour after a seven-month lay-off due to illness, and she's firmly planted inside the Top 20 - something she is very proud of. And in fact, she played Date-Krumm in her first match of that comeback, in the first round here last year.
"Life doesn't just give it to you, you've got to work for it," Williams commented. "That's the joy in accomplishing something, you know how hard you've worked for it, and it makes it that much sweeter. That's what makes everything so sweet for Serena and I on the court these days, we know we've had to work hard to come back from the things we've been through, and just go out there and get it.
"It feels nice to come full circle, to come back to where I started my comeback. I got to play the Olympics last year and that was amazing, and this year I'm just going to try to do even better."
Next up for Williams is a first-time meeting with No.16-seeded compatriot Sloane Stephens.
"In any match it's always important for you to execute on your side, because if you don't then the match is over," Williams said. "So I'm just going to try and play well from my side in that match.
"Sloane has been doing great. It's an exciting time for her and I know there's even more to come."