BOGOTÁ, Colombia - Top seed Elina Svitolina appeared on course for a regulation comeback when her Tuesday match with Alexandra Panova bled into Wednesday due to inclement weather. But the Russian, a 2012 finalist at the Claro Open Colsanitas, had other ideas as she saved a whopping five match points - three in a row in the third set tie-break - to oust the Ukrainian youngster, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(6).
"I'm always happy to come back," she said after the match. "It's been my sixth year, probably. I like it here; I have lots of support and I play a good game here.
"Every point was very important because it was very close. Same as yesterday in the first set and today the final set was very close. I had to fight for everything, be aggressive, be prepared for everything because it could change very quickly."
Panova hadn't played a WTA tournament since the BMW Malaysian Open, which Svitolina went on to win, but a quarterfinal appearance at an ITF Challenge in Croissy-Beaubourg set her up in good stead against Svitolina, who won eight more points overall in a match that suffered multiple rain delays before it was finally postponed.
"Of course, it's very difficult. We had two stops. The first one was pretty early, so it was almost like starting the match from the beginning. At the second stop it was getting dark, and it was not playable."
Another upset happened earlier in the day, as former Swiss star Amra Sadikovic continued her second career by winning her first WTA main draw match since 2013, turning the tide against 2010 champion Mariana Duque-Mariño, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-4.
Sadikovic announced her retirement in the middle of 2014, and spent 14 months as a tennis coach before deciding to return to competition last summer.
"I had to play my best to beat her," she said after the match. "For me, it was special to get to play on the center court, just awesome. I went out on court kind of nervous in the beginning, just trying to stay in there and play point by point and I ended up winning the match.
Undaunted by the vociferous local support, Sadikovic held her nerve to convert her only break point opportunity in the final set and clinch the upset in over two hours.
"When I play back home in Switzerland, everyone cheers for me. I was expecting that and I prepared myself. I talked to my coach who said, 'Just try to stay in the moment and play point by point.' It all worked out."
As first round play came to its belated conclusion, half of the draw's quarterfinalists were also decided on Wednesday. No.4 seed Lara Arruabarrena is the highest ranked woman remaining in the draw, and a second emphatic win - this time a 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Anne Schaefer - brought her into the last eight. Rio Open quarterfinalist Paula Cristina Goncalves earned another of the day's upsets by eliminating No.6 seed Tatjana Maria, 6-4, 6-3. Qualifier Catalina Pella backed up her win over No.2 seed and defending champion Teliana Pereira by beating Elitsa Kostova, 6-3, 6-2, while No.5 seed Irina Falconi survived a tense second set tie-break to oust French veteran Sherazad Reix, 6-3, 7-6(2).