BAKU, Azerbaijan - On a Wednesday that saw all the seeds in action secure spots in the quarterfinals, unseeded Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova may have had the most impressive performance.
Rybarikova came into this week having lost 13 of her last 16 main draw matches, including six straight. But a day after dropping just two games against eighth-seeded Eva Birnerova, she disposed of Tamarine Tanasugarn, 61 60, in just 48 minutes. It was her most one-sided WTA main draw win ever and most one-sided in any WTA match since August 2009, when she double-bageled Anna Lapushchenkova in New Haven qualifying.
Into her second final eight of the year after Acapulco, Rybarikova squares off with first-time WTA quarterfinalist Julia Cohen in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Another quarterfinal features a pair of Russians - No.2 seed Alexandra Panova and No.6 seed Nina Bratchikova - whom have split their four previous matches. Two points from defeat at 6-6 in the second set tie-break versus Sandra Zaniewska, Panova held on and got an early break in the third en route to an almost three-hour 46 76(6) 63 victory. Bratchikova bageled Estrella Cabeza Candela in the first set before the Spaniard retired with an abdominal strain.
Interestingly enough, Panova and Bratchikova are paired up in doubles this week and made the semis with a double bagel after their singles wins on Wednesday.
A final eight clash of Serbs will involve fifth-seeded Bojana Jovanovski and first-time WTA quarterfinalist Aleksandra Krunic. Jovanovski was a 62 63 winner over Valeria Solovieva. A qualifier this week, Krunic rallied from a 3-0, two-break deficit in the first set of her 76(5) 63 victory over Laura Pous-Tio.
Finally, No.3 seed Mandy Minella will square off with Olga Puchkova. Minella's breakthrough season has been highlighted by her first quarterfinal appearance in Monterrey in February, her first semifinal showing in Bad Gastein last month and at least another quarterfinal outing here. Consequentially, she rose to a career-high No.78 last week before falling four spots coming into Baku.