DOHA, Qatar - For the second straight match, Kiki Bertens found herself down a set at the Qatar Total Open. For the second straight match, she rallied to win.
The No.5 seed booked her place in the quarterfinals in Doha on Wednesday with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over 2016 champion Carla Suárez Navarro.
A day after rallying from a first-set bagel against Camila Giorgi, the St. Petersburg champion did the same on Center Court for the second straight round to extend her winning streak to six straight matches.
"I think in the first set I was rushing a little bit. I wanted to play too aggressive, and it was not working well. I think Carla played well. She served well," Bertens said after the match.
"In the second set I was just waiting a little bit more but then going for my shots like where I could. I think also in the beginning of the third I was a little bit lucky here and there, but I just took it.
"I was just hoping to just play some better tennis, to be honest. It was like yesterday. Today, I tried really to go from the beginning, but it was not working out again.
"It helps that I came back yesterday from a set down. I'm just happy that I did it today again."
A winner in Doha three years ago, Suárez Navarro stormed out of the gates to break Bertens twice in her first four service games of the match to pocket the opening set - her fifth straight set won against the Dutchwoman.
"In the beginning today I was really doubting about my shots, like, 'Okay, I cannot do it.' Then I said to myself, But you can, because you won a lot of matches lately," the No.5 seed revealed.
"I think that helps for sure for your confidence. That helps you get the feeling back, yeah, to win these matches and turn those moments around."
Over sets two and three, Bertens lost just 13 total points on serve and saved the lone break point she faced in the final set to earn her first career win over the Spanish No.2.
In the quarterfinals, Bertens will face Belgian Elise Mertens, who benefitted from the withdrawal of Brisbane champion Karolina Pliskova and insteaded defeated her sister, Kristyna, a lucky loser, 6-2, 7-6(3).
"I think you have seen over the last two years already that a lot of girls can win tournaments, so I think it's not like all the top players win tournaments every week," Bertens said.
"I think every week there are surprises, and unfortunately there are a few players sick this week. I had it also a little bit, but I'm just happy that I can still compete here.
"I'm feeling a bit better, but still the energy is not 100% back. Just happy that I could play and happy to be through to the quarterfinals."