SYDNEY, Australia - Lucie Safarova pulled off the latest surprise at the Apia International Sydney on Tuesday, closing out a tight two-setter against Caroline Wozniacki to move into the quarterfinals.
The No.6-seeded Wozniacki had her chances - she led 3-0 in the first set and held four set points in the second set tie-break, three at 6-3 and a fourth at 7-6 - but Safarova didn't give in, winning the last eight points of the first set and six of the last seven points of the breaker to finish the job, 64 76(7).
Safarova's win over the World No.10 was the 17th Top 10 win of her career, and she will have to conjure up that magic again now, as awaiting her in the quarterfinals is the No.6-ranked, No.2-seeded Petra Kvitova. Kvitova needed just 60 minutes to beat American qualifier Christina McHale, 61 60.
Kvitova beat Safarova in their only previous meeting, at New Haven a year and a half ago.
It has still been a fantastic week for Wozniacki, who on New Year's Eve got engaged to Rory McIlroy. Wozniacki was asked in her pre-tournament presser in Sydney whether she knew it was coming.
"No, but my parents knew," Wozniacki said. "He had asked my parents for permission, like traditional, which was great. I was very happy. They were very happy for me, and his parents, and everyone around us. So it's a special moment, a special time in our lives. It's amazing to have everything set in the personal life, and we can really focus on our games and the year ahead of us in the sport.
"I think this was the best possible way to start off the year."
And what makes Wozniacki and McIlroy such a strong pair? "I think mostly it's just he understands how it is to be a professional athlete," Wozniacki commented. "All of the expectations and all of the ups and downs and how amazing it feels when you're winning and how tough it can be when you're not.
"It's great to have someone there who understands you and who is always there to support you."
Look below for a pic of Wozniacki's much-talked about engagement ring...