BAD GASTEIN, Austria - Sara Errani showed what she's made of at the NÜRNBERGER Gastein Ladies on Thursday, battling back from the brink of defeat in the third set - including fighting off a match point - to survive a major upset bid and reach the quarterfinals of the International-level event.
The challenger was No.133-ranked Ukrainian qualifier Maryna Zanevska, who looked completely outmatched early on - the No.1-seeded Errani looked like she'd cruise after storming out to 6-2, 2-0.
Zanevska came alive from there, winning 11 of the next 15 games to take the second set, 6-4, and go ahead 5-2 in the third. She served for the match in that game and even got to match point at ad-in.
But Errani hasn't been to a French Open final and all the way to No.5 in the world for no reason - she just never stopped fighting, and after almost two hours on court she had the win, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
"Well, I was winning, 6-2, 2-0, but then I started to miss one thousand balls," Errani said.
"She was starting to play much better from there, though. From the baseline I just couldn't do any points. It was very difficult to win two points. And her second serve wasn't too strong, so I tried to hit winners off of it, but I was just missing a lot of returns. It was just a really difficult day for me.
"But from 5-2 down in the third set I just tried to stay in there, and I'm happy I made it."
Awaiting Errani in the quarters will be a qualifier who closed out the upset - Russian qualifier Daria Kasatkina was down 6-3, 2-0 and even faced a point for a 6-3, 3-0 deficit but put forth a valiant comeback to take out No.6 seed Julia Goerges after two hours and two minutes on court, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
The 18-year-old Kasatkina is now through to the first WTA quarterfinal of her career.
Errani and Kasatkina will be playing against each other for the first time.
"Obviously I'm just taking it one match at a time right now," Errani commented.
"I'll have to play a lot better than I did today, though."
Earlier, No.7 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova moved through to the final eight as well, advancing past Andreea Mitu when the Romanian had to retire after losing the first set, 6-1, with a shoulder injury.
? WTA Gastein (@WTAGastein) July 23, 2015