ANNING, China – Zhang Kai-Lin reached the quarterfinals of the Kunming Open at the expense of Ankita Raina as she won through, 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(7).
Zhang, the WTA World No.209, recovered from 1-5 down and saved three match points in the 12th game of the deciding set of an encounter that saw serve dropped 16 times and lasted just three minutes short of three hours.
Raina had won through a three-set epic with No.3 seed Samantha Stosur 24 hours earlier but seemed to have drawn confidence from that victory in a strong opening set.
All four break points she faced arrived in a lengthy third game, but the 26-year-old Asian Games bronze medallist staved those off and swept to the first in comfortable fashion.
She seemed to be in control of the second, too, when she broke to move 2-1 ahead, though her serve wavered thereafter, winning just one point from the next 13 on her own delivery as a scrappy set moved into a tiebreak.
Zhang controlled the breaker from the outset, grabbing an early advantage and never showing any sign of giving it up.
As Raina established a 5-1 lead in the deciding set, it seemed that the Chinese had simply postponed her exit only for her to fight back in spectacular fashion, reeling off four games in succession.
A fifth nearly followed but the Indian fended off two break points to move 6-5 up and within a game of victory once more.
Indeed, three times Raina got to match point in a dramatic game that saw four deuces before Zhang prevailed.
There was no shortage of drama in the deciding tiebreak either. Just as in the previous set, Zhang moved into a 6-2 advantage but on this occasion squandered four successive match points. A fifth was also missed but on the sixth she made no mistake, closing out a devilishly exciting match.
Liang En-Shou, the 2018 Australian Open girls’ singles champion, who is currently WTA World No.228 lies ahead in the quarterfinals after she defeated wildcard Yang Zhaoxuan, 6-2, 7-6(6).
Elsewhere, No.7 seed Danielle Lao retired when trailing, 6-4, 5-0 to another wildcard, Ma Shuyue.
No.1 seed Zhang Shuai was the final winner on Wednesday, coming back from a set down against Xun Fanying to book her place in the last eight with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory.