Virginie Razzano reminded everyone of her immense talents and fighting spirit at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad on Friday, stunning Petra Kvitova in a three-hour, 35-minute thriller.
WTA Staff

CARLSBAD, CA, USA - Virginie Razzano reminded everyone of her immense talents and fighting spirit at the Southern California Open, stunning Petra Kvitova in a three-hour, 35-minute thriller.

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A day after upsetting No.8 seed Carla Suárez Navarro in straight sets, Razzano did it again against the No.3-seeded Kvitova, though it was nowhere near as straightforward - not only did she have to come back from a set down to do it, she had to fight off two match points in the third set tie-break, at 6-5 and 8-7 down. It was the second-longest match of the year, second only to Bethanie Mattek-Sands' three-hour, 42-minute victory over Anastasia Rodionova on the clay courts of Charleston back in April.

"It was a great match," Razzano said. "I've worked very hard on my game and physically in the gym too, so that I could come back up the rankings, and the last two or three months I've had some good results recently. Things don't come too quickly for me - I really have to work my way back into form.

"Now I'm back on my favorite surface and I'm very happy to be in the semifinals of a big tournament like this. Day after day and week after week I'm working so hard, and I think I deserved this."

Razzano's current ranking - No.131 - certainly doesn't do her justice. She's a former Top 20 player, and her win over the No.7-ranked Kvitova isn't a huge surprise given she already had 12 Top 10 wins to her name. And one of those was one of the biggest upsets of the Open Era - a first round win over Serena Williams at Roland Garros last year, Williams' only first round loss at a Grand Slam event, ever.

But things haven't been so peachy for the French veteran since that win over the WTA legend.

"After the French Open last year I had to stop for six months because of a right hip injury," Razzano said. "I didn't play and I didn't defend some of my points, and that's why my ranking was in the 200s three months ago. It's very difficult to come back if you're not playing and defending your points.

"This year in January I couldn't play a lot of tournaments because my ranking was so bad. I didn't even get into the qualies for WTA. And there weren't many ITF tournaments from January to March.

"But I practiced a lot. I stayed home and just practiced. There's no secret. I took my time, focused on my job, worked on my game, and now I'm back on the court. It's not easy to come back from all of this and all the problems I've had before, but you can't give up. You really just have to keep going."

Did those Top 10 wins - including the one over Williams - keep her hopes up? "I was 16 in the world in 2009 and I've beaten many Top 10 players in my career - Dementieva, Zvonareva, Safina, Serena, Venus, Radwanska - I don't know how many. So I know I can do it. And I want to continue to progress."

The upsets didn't stop there - the next matches saw No.7 seed Ana Ivanovic beat No.4 seed Roberta Vinci, 61 67(1) 63, and No.5 seed Sam Stosur surprise No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, 75 26 63.

No.1 seed Victoria Azarenka restored order at night with a 61 62 win against Urszula Radwanska.