Tiebreaks remain the charm for Tereza Martincova in Ostrava. The Czech wildcard booked a spot in her sixth quarterfinal of the season with a 7-6(5), 7-6(6) victory over No. 5 seed and French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the J&T Banka Ostrava Open.
Sealing victory in 2 hours and 19 minutes, Martincova could've wrapped up proceedings much earlier had she converted either of the two match points she held on the Russian's serve at 7-6, 5-1, or served out the match on any of her three opportunities to do so in the second set.
Martincova sealed the third Top 20 win of her career in victory and advances to a second quarterfinal on home soil this season after finishing as runner-up in Prague.
Art of the comeback: After saving a match point in a three-plus-hour victory over compatriot Katerina Siniakova in the opening round, which finished 9-7 in a final-set tiebreak, Martincova came from behind early in her second round victory as well.
Pavlyuchenkova was the first to break serve at 3-3 in the opener and served for a one-set lead in the 10th game, but never reached set point. She was two points away from the set at 5-4, 30-15, but lost four straight points.
The Czech's momentum continued well into the second set: she lost just eight points in the first six games - three of which came in a deuce game where she saved a pair of break points to consolidate for 2-0 - to put herself a point away from victory at 7-6, 5-1.
Things got complicated from there, though: Pavlyuchenkova saved two match points to hold serve and force Martincova to serve for the match, which she was unable to do on three separate occasions. Never again reaching match point in her service games, Martincova lost four games in a row, and was broken again when she served for the match a third time at 6-5.
Martincova's 4-1 lead in the tiebreak also evaporated, as Pavlyuchenkova leveled at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6, saving a third match point in the process, before the Czech finally got herself over the line.
Up next: Martincova will next face No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, who ousted Luxembourg runner-up Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets earlier in the day on Thursday.
Bencic rolls past Sorribes Tormo in Ostrava debut
Making her debut at the WTA 500 event, the Tokyo Olympic gold medalist needed just 88 minutes to get off to a winning start and collect her 15th victory in her last 18 matches.
Playing Sorribes Tormo for the first time, Bencic broke serve six times and won eight straight games from 2-2 in the first set to take command of the match.
Sorribes Tormo, a quarterfinalist in Ostrava a year ago where she notably led eventual champion Aryna Sabalenka, 6-0, 4-0, before losing, would not go quietly, however: the world No. 36 saved a break point to get on the board in the next game and retrieved one break back, but ran out of time to complete her own comeback.
"I think I prepared very well for this match tactically, and also mentally, because it's very tough," Bencic said after the match. "You have to win the point many times against her, especially on this surface where it's very slow. I'm happy that I stayed disciplined for the whole match."
Stats of the match: The Swiss nearly tripled Sorribes Tormo's winner total in the match while managing to play with controlled aggression. Bencic recorded 31 winners to just 16 unforced errors in the contest, and revealed that she was thrilled with her successful execution of her game plan in victory.
"She's a great player, she makes you play worse and she makes you make mistakes," Bencic added. "It was important to always get into the rally and to not make it 1, 2, kind of rallies because with her it's almost impossible. I'm happy with how I managed to do that."
She also converted six of the nine break points she created.
Rounding out Thursday's victors was Bencic's compatriot Jil Teichmann, who overcame American Alison Riske in three sets, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, to set up a meeting with fellow left-hander and No. 2 seed Petra Kvitova in the last eight.