MOSCOW, Russia - 17-year-old Anastasia Potapova claimed one of the biggest wins of her young career to reach her first ever WTA quarterfinals at the Moscow River Cup 2018.
Potapova, ranked No.204 in the world, took on the big-serving Kristyna Pliskova - who sits over 100 ranking spots higher. The Russian youngster was undaunted, playing fearless tennis to notch the win in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, in just over an hour and a half.
“It was a very nervous match for me as I played against a top player," Potapova said afterwards. "But I said to myself ‘Whatever happens during the match, play until the end,’ which is exactly what I did!”
“The fans were amazing. I felt the support of each and every person in the stands. I was really touched by the amount of support and I can only say a big thank you.”
With the win, she becomes just the second player born in 2001 to reach a WTA quarterfinal, reaching the milestone just hours after Olga Danilovic’s 7-6(3), 7-5 win over Kaia Kanepi earlier in the day.
Wildcard Potapova’s aggressive game put Pliskova under a lot of pressure from the start - the Czech got ahead to an early break at 2-1, but saw her lead erased as Potapova came roaring back. Potapova grew in confidence as Pliskova struggled, and a wobbly final service game from Pliskova - she struck two double faults - sealed the set for the Russian.
Potapova kept up the rhythm in the second set, although the teenager’s nerves showed as she tried to serve out the match; after trading breaks at 4-2, Potapova needed four match points in a lengthy game to finally seal her spot in the quarterfinals.
Up next, Potapova will face fellow a Russian in the quarterfinals, qualifier Valentyna Ivakhnenko, who knocked out Varvara Flink 7-6(2), 6-3 today.
“For me, the motivation is always about winning,” Potapova said. “I don’t feel a lot of pressure at this tournament, I just play and want to win as many matches as I can.”