TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - Former World No.41 Margarita Gasparyan scored one of the biggest wins of her comeback trail as she knocked out the No.5 seed Tatjana Maria at the Tashkent Open - reaching her first WTA quarterfinal in nearly two years in the process.
Gasparyan had to come back from a 0-4 deficit in the deciding set, but she sealed her 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(2) victory in two hours and 10 minutes to move into the quarterfinal.
The Russian player came into the tournament with a Protected Ranking, having spent more than 16 months out due to injury.
“I have not played for like a year now due to injury, but I’m feeling good now and I’m so happy to end on the winning side,” Gasparyan told the Tashkent Open media team.
“I’m happy to survive this match and looking at making a solid comeback and making it to the circuit on my own. I still have two or three events with Protected Ranking, and I’m trying to make most of it.”
Gasparyan came out of the gate firing, winning five games in a row to break Maria twice as she grabbed the opening set. But in the second, the Russian player saw her form dip and unforced errors pile up. Maria saw the opening and scored the lone break at 5-3 to send them into a decider.
She found herself down 0-4 to Maria in the third, as the German looked ready to close out the match with a double break. But Gasparyan found her aggressive game just in time, going for her shots to break Maria at 2-4, and again at 5-5 to bring them into a tiebreaker - where she prevailed after more than two hours on court.
“Being away from tennis had really been hard, and so coming back has been tough physically and mentally, Gasparyan said. “I’m working with my physiologist and trying to ensure that I’m fit to make a comeback and get back into the Top 100.”
Gasparyan’s countrywoman and Tashkent doubles partner Anastasia Potapova also scored a big win today, knocking out Olga Danilovic in a rematch of the Moscow River Cup final.
The former Junior World No.1 won 6-3, 6-3 to reach her second career WTA quarterfinal.
“It’s a tough journey for one to move from juniors to seniors,” Potapova admitted in an interview with Tashkent Open’s media team. “I think the entire focus of my team is to improve my game, rather than running after points.
“My goal is to be the best on the WTA tour. I’m so happy to be competing on a higher level, I did my best and hope to be regular in the tour and keep competing at higher level events in the coming months.”
After their big singles wins, Gasparyan and Potapova teamed up later in the day for doubles, where they defeated Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk 6-2, 6-4 to seal a winning day.