LINZ, Austria - No.6 seed Nadia Podoroska came back from a set down in a roller-coaster  clash against 2018 champion Camila Giorgi to book her spot in the quarterfinals of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz. 

After dropping a tight opening set to the heavy-hitting Italian, Podoroska rallied back to ease through the next two, winning 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4 after a two hour and 32-minute battle on Linz’s iconic gray Centre Court. 

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“Camila is a great player and she plays really fast,” Podoroska told press in Spanish after the match. “She can run around the court very fast too, so it’s hard to get her out of position. She has a lot of power, so I knew I had to go after her and not let her take the initiative or let her get comfortable. I had to take so many risks, a lot more than I’m used to, but I knew that was the right way. 

“The first set was really high-level, it could have gone either way. The second, I think I got myself together well because I had really lost my calm and my order. In the third, I felt much more comfortable playing first-strike tennis and I had gotten used to that fast pace, and I could keep up my patterns.”

Linz 2020 highlights: Podoroska fights past Begu

Indeed, the opening set saw Podoroska and Giorgi combine for six breaks of serve as both players roared out of the gates playing aggressively on the return. The momentum swung between the two as Podoroska edged through the first rash of three breaks in a row to take a 2-1 lead, and later Giorgi raised her level to reel off four games in a row and surge in front, 5-3. 

Podoroska did well to stay in the contest, breaking back and leveling the set at 5-5, but couldn’t convert on four break point chances. The No.6 seed saved three set points to hold and send them into a tiebreak, but Giorgi once again put her foot on the gas and claimed four points a row to take the first set, 7-6(4). 

The Argentine fought tooth and nail to hold her serve to start the second, saving two break points and being pushed to six deuce points under Giorgi’s firepower, before racing ahead to a 3-0 lead. As Giorgi’s high-octane game began to misfire, the inconsistency that has sometimes plagued the Italian’s powerful game reared its head again as Podoroska closed out the set comfortably, 6-1.

With both players dialed in, the third set unfolded in a high-quality baseline contest as Podoroska and Giorgi crossed the two-hour mark. Podoroska dropped just four points on her serve in a dominant service performance, claiming the lone break for a 4-3 lead and sealing her spot in the quarterfinals with a 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-4 turnaround. 

“I didn’t know it was only four points,” Podoroska smiled afterwards. “I’ve been working on my serve to generate a bit more power, so that I can serve faster and do more damage. I’m playing with my legs most of all, engaging the whole body and not just the shoulder. 

“The stat about only losing four points, it could be an improvement from my first serve, which I was determined to hit faster and harder to her forehand. That was my biggest change in the third set.

Jimmie48 Photography/WTA

Podoroska will face No.4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the next round as she seeks a spot in the semifinals. It would be her fourth WTA-level semifinal of the season (all levels), a rapid rise that seals her career first WTA Top 50 finish.

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“It’s good for me to [start the year inside the Top 50] and know that I will be playing in Australia, and then I will be playing in the States [at Indian Wells and Miami],” Podoroska reflected. “It’s good to have the calendar a little bit more clear than in ITF, and playing against the top players.” 

Joining Podoroska in quarterfinals, No.5 seed Viktoria Kudermetova also outlasted her opponent in a three-set contest, edging past Arantxa Rus 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals. French qualifier Oceane Dodin is into her second quarterfinal of the season after defeating Sorana Cirstea in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.