Jana Cepelova ended home hopes at the Japan Women's Open Tennis with a hard-fought victory over Kurumi Nara in Friday's quarterfinals.
WTA Staff

TOKYO, Japan - Jana Cepelova ended home hopes at the Japan Women's Open Tennis with a hard-fought victory over Kurumi Nara in Friday's quarterfinals.

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Nara, the final Japanese representative in the draw, started brightly but it was Cepelova that finished the stronger to run out a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 winner.

After losing three straight games to drop the first set, Cepelova soon fell a break behind in the second. Rahter than dwell on this setback, the Slovakian used it as a turning point, winning four of the next five games to level the match.

Her dominance continued into the decider a couple of early break giving her stranglehold she would not relinquish.

Since coming through qualifying to reach the third round of Wimbledon, Cepelova's form has been mixed; clay court outings in Gstaad and Bastad both ended in the first round before she fell in the final round of qualifying for the US Open.

Now she is through to her first quarterfinal at a WTA tournament since last summer, where she will face No.7 seed Christina McHale after she battled past Viktorija Golubic, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

In a match that ebbed and flowed for over two and a half hours, the pivotal moment came in the penultimate game. Serving at 3-4, Golubic saved four break points in a titanic game, only to wilt at the fifth time, sending a tied forehand long.

McHale was feeling equally exhausted, barely having the energy to celebrate when she closed out victory a game later. "I think it was a well-fought match. Both of us were producing a high level, but I was really happy I stayed solid in the end because it was only a few points that were the difference."

Meanwhile, in the top half of the draw, Katerina Siniakova will take on the highest-ranked player left in the draw, No.6 seed Zhang Shuai.

Siniakova followed up her marathon encounter against Louisa Chirico with a far more straightforward 6-2, 6-4 win over Alison Riske. Zhang was made to work harder, recovering to beat Varvara Lepchenko, 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-3.