MALLORCA, Spain - No.2 seed Anastasija Sevastova was down, but never out, at the Mallorca Open on Friday, as she defeated No.7 seed Ana Konjuh in the quarterfinals, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(5) to return to the final four.
Last year's finalist, Sevastova won six of the last seven games and saved three set points to take the opening set, before she found herself a break down twice in the decider after Konjuh rolled through the second set.
The Latvian broke Konjuh as she served for the match in the 10th game, and edged out the deciding tiebreak on her second match point to take the victory in a sweltering two hours, 17 minutes.
"I like grass when it's hot, maybe!" Sevastova said about her success in Mallorca. "I think [the grass] is faster, maybe because it's hotter so the ball goes more through [the court]. I played in Nottingham, and didn't play that good, and Wimbledon last year also...but here, something, maybe it switched - we'll see, I have nothing to lose at Wimbledon. I haven't gotten past the first round in many years.
"I play all the time in the heat - yesterday, I played two matches, and today they put me up second, again in the heat, so I think I'm used to it," Sevastova said. "I felt physically okay, it could've been worse after yesterday, and I said [to myself] I will fight in the third set."
A whopping 55 winners were not enough to see Konjuh to victory, despite being plus-20 in her differential of winners to unforced errors (35), while Sevastova also played a clean match - striking 21 winners to just 15 errors in the win.
"There are some things, you know what she does, and you hope you just guess right," Sevastova said about Konjuh's tennis. "She plays a lot of times cross-[court] with the forehand, and you have to know, anticipate, and try to get as many returns in -- and also your service games. I practice with her a couple of times, so I know how she plays."
However, the difference between the two players was on serve - and how they defended it. Konjuh managed to save just one of the seven break points she faced, as Sevastova broke her serve six times.
Though Sevastova lost her serve once more than Konjuh in the match, the Croatian wasn't as effective in taking her break point opportunities, converting on just seven of 17 chances.
From 4-1 down in the first set, Sevastova got back on serve in the seventh game, but needed to dig out of a 0-40 hole when serving to stay in the opener.
Buoyed by momentum after winning five straight points to hold, the Latvian engineered a break at 30 and converted on her second set point to secure the last three games of the set.
Konjuh started to fire on all cylinders to begin the second set, as she earned her first of three breaks of the Sevastova serve in the second game.
Despite the one-sided scoreline in favor of the No.7 seed, she didn't have the second set entirely her own way; five of the seven games the two played went to deuce, but Konjuh won four of them as she sent the match to a decider after just over an hour and a half of play.
In the decider, the first six games went with serve as neither player faced a break point. Konjuh earned the first breakthrough, converting on her first break point in the seventh game to move ahead, only to see her Latvian foe answer right back with a break of her own.
The No.7 seed earned her chance to serve for the match thanks to a second straight break in the ninth game, but dropped serve to 15 on her opportunity - and with nothing to separate the two, they headed for a final set tiebreak.
Sevastova never trailed in the deciding tiebreak, as she twice led by the mini-break, but needed to conjure up one last run from 4-4 to decide the match and move through to the semifinals.