Elina Svitolina of Ukraine remains undefeated over her career at the Abierto GNP Seguros, as the No.1 seed and former champion surged past Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
"It was an extremely tough match today," Svitolina said on court afterward. "I think Viktoriya played a really good match, and I had to really fight back in the third set to bring back my best game and try to come back in the match. In the end, I managed to win six games in a row, so it's a good effort for me.
"It was an extremely tough first set, second set didn't go my way, and then the third set I was 0-2 down. I was not playing my best, but I was fighting, until the very end.
"And you know, the Ukrainian flag [in the crowd] really helped me today to fight. ... I was really fighting until the end, and I found my game in the end."
World No.15 Svitolina is making her second appearance at the event. In her previous showing at the tournament, she won the 2020 title, defeating Marie Bouzkova in the final. Svitolina is a perfect 7-0 at the Abierto GNP Seguros.
The former World No.3 Svitolina needed all of her grit to fend off World No.103 Tomova in 2 hours and 24 minutes. The top seed was able to convert seven of 19 break points to take the victory and deny Tomova her first career Top 20 win.
A topsy-turvy first set saw Tomova erase four set points at 5-4, and the qualifier then broke Svitolina at love to lead 6-5 and serve for the set. But Svitolina converted her fifth break point of the critical next game to queue up a tiebreak, where she opened up a 4-0 lead and held on from there to take the first set.
Tomova, though, wrested the momentum back by winning the second set and leading by an early break in the third set. However, down 2-0, Svitolina went on a winning spree, knocking off the next six games in a row to complete the comeback and make the last eight.
Svitolina will now meet No.5 seed Camila Osorio of Colombia in the quarterfinals. In their only prior meeting, Osorio upset Svitolina in the first round of Tenerife last year, where Svitolina was also the No.1 seed.
Earlier on Thursday, No.6 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz and former Top 15 player Wang Qiang also booked quarterfinal spots. Parrizas Diaz defeated 2016 champion Heather Watson 6-4, 7-6(2), and Wang toppled Mayar Sherif 6-0, 6-7(2), 6-3.