PARIS, France - Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan's Cinderella run through the French Open draw continued in a late-night thriller on Friday in which the World No.159 saved a pair of match points to upset No.20 seed Maria Sakkari, 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.
After losing the opening set in under 30 minutes, Trevisan built a 5-2, double-break lead for herself in the second set, but later needed to save a pair of match points in the tiebreak to ultimately win the match.
"I'm so tired right now but I'm really happy. I'm living in a dream and I don't want this dream to finish," Trevisan said after the match. "Maybe I will realize tonight what happened tonight on Court 9 at Roland Garros."
From 5-2 down, Sakkari won four straight games, saving two set points in the process, but much as she did in her second-round victory against American teenager Coco Gauff, the left-handed Italian found her best form with her back against the wall.
Two points from a straight-sets defeat in the 12th game, the 26-year-old forced a tiebreak and ultimately rallied from 4-1 and 6-4 deficits to force a decider from the brink.
After losing serve to start the final set, Trevisan again put together a string of games, winning four straight to clinch a lead she'd never relinquish. Crucially, the qualifier earned a stunning hold of serve for 5-2 despite facing a 0-40 deficit, and sealed the two hour and 39-minute victory on her third match point.
Trevisan ultimately out-steadied the Greek in grueling baseline rallies, as Sakkari totaled 48 unforced errors to 24 winners in the match. In addition, the Italian defended her left-handed serve quite well, saving 11 of 20 break points against her in victory, including 4-of-5 in the final set.
"I knew that with my forehand, backhand, volley and serve, I don't have problems on court. I worked a lot on my mental position on court. I think my work on this mental position paid off during this Roland Garros," Trevisan said.
“I think the key is the mentality, the mentality to never give up on every point. Maybe last year my thoughts during the match was 'Oh my God, I lost another point. I lost another chance.' I didn’t think in the future. 'Okay, I lost this point, come on, there is another one. This year, something's changed. During the match, I’m positive. I'm not negative and I don't think about the mistakes."
In her six victories so far this tournament, Trevisan has been taken the distance three times, beginning in her opening qualifying match against American Sachia Vickery.
After scoring her first three tour-level victories over Top 100 opposition in the first three rounds of the main draw, the 26-year-old will next bid for her biggest upset of them all as she takes on No.5 seed Kiki Bertens.
"At the beginning of the tournament, I felt really good on court. In the first round of qualies, I had a lot of difficulties, but I felt good on court," she said.
"Day by day, I got more confidence on court, and I arrived here in the fourth round of Roland Garros. Really, it's a dream, and with time, I'll realize what happened tonight.
"I don't think about Bertens right now, but I will tomorrow. I already played with her last year or two years ago... so I will prepare for my match as today, yesterday and the past days. I'll try to be at my best."