NÜRNBERG, Germany - It has been a long road back, but Andrea Petkovic is beginning to show flashes of the form that took her to the Top 10 in the world, as evidenced by her reaching her first quarterfinal of the season in her home country at the NÜRNBERGER VERSICHERUNGSCUP.
Petkovic missed most of last year with various injuries and was on the verge of falling out of the Top 200 as recently as October. However, she has steadily climbed the rankings in recent months - getting to the verge of the Top 100 coming into Nürnberg after capturing an ITF Women's Circuit event in Marseille last week.
Nerves may have been a factor in closing out fellow German and No.4 seed Julia Goerges in second round action on Wednesday, as she let a 5-3 second set lead get away and needed four match points before pulling out a 61 75 victory.
"It was definitely tough," Petkovic said. "I think we were both really nervous in the beginning and then after two games I settled down a little bit and relaxed. Toward the end, Julia brought her game to another level and I was struggling. I'm really happy with my service game at 5-5. I made two aces, which I rarely do, and after that I settled down and it was fine.
"It was a great atmosphere with the home crowd, although they didn't really know who to cheer for. And the nice thing is with all the injuries, that I really appreciate it much more now and I'm really happy about any kind of win. It doesn't matter where or when or which round, so I'm really happy."
"It was a good match," Safarova said. "I got an early break in the first set and then it got a little bit complicated at 4-4. But I closed the set with another break, and I kept the same level in the second set, so it was a nice second round match.
"It's a nice tournament here, my first time in Nürnberg. I'm enjoying my time here."
Safarova's quarterfinal opponent will be Polona Hercog, who because of rain earlier in the tournament had to play her first and second round matches Wednesday. First, she improved to 6-0 against second-seeded Klara Zalopalova with a 63 46 61 victory. Then, she was a 63 63 winner over Julia Cohen to make her first WTA quarterfinal since she triumphed in Bastad last July.
No.1 seed Jelena Jankovic also took the court twice. First, she finished off a 64 62 defeat of Arantxa Rus that was suspended Tuesday after the first set, then recorded a 52-minute, 62 60 rout of Johanna Larsson that set up a quarterfinal with No.6 seed Lourdes Domínguez Lino.
"I waited the whole day yesterday," Jankovic said. "I went on court at 8:30 and just played one set. We had to finish today, and I felt fresh and ready to go. I think I played very well today."
Seventh-seeded Simona Halep and Galina Voskoboeva also set up a quarterfinal. Halep was a 62 61 winner over Estrella Cabeza Candela in 54 minutes, and Voskoboeva rallied from a 62 32 deficit against No.3 seed Alizé Cornet for a 26 63 63 triumph.