MOSCOW, Russia - Top seed Julia Goerges overcame a late fightback to knock out Russia's Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-2, 7-6(2) to reach her seventh WTA quarterfinal of 2018 at the Moscow River Cup.
“I didn’t feel the crowd were too much on her side, I actually thought they were pretty even," she said of playing a Russian in Russia. "I’ve had so many good experiences [in Russia] I feel almost at home here now and am happy to be back in Moscow. "
Goerges enjoyed a thunderous debut in Russia on Tuesday, dropping just one game against Viktoria Kuzmova in the first round, and appeared on course for a similarly emphatic victory against Vikhlyantseva before the 21-year-old mounted an impressive fightback.
“I like the tournaments here. It’s always a great atmosphere and it’s very well organized. If you have a good time and have good experiences – not only the results but also the way you feel – it’s a good reason to come back."
Rallying from a set and a break, Vikhlyantseva engineered a set point late in the second set as Goerges called the trainer, but the German held firm, saving the set point and roaring through the ensuing tie-break after 90 minutes on court.
“It’s actually pretty humid here. I’ve never experienced Russian in summer so I don’t know what to expect. So for me it’s strange it’s that humid, because I’ve only experienced this [at a tournament] in Miami. You can adjust to this, though, it just takes a few days.”
In all, Goerges struck a solid 27 winners to 18 unforced errors and converted three of seven break points to book a quarterfinal clash with lucky loser Olga Danilovic.
“I don’t really know a lot about her right now. But as I always say, it’s up to me, I want to play my game, I want to dictate the game, no matter who’s the opponent. I will look up the videos of the matches she’s played here and then I will prepare the best I can.
At 17, Danilovic joins fellow teenager Anatasia Potapova in the quarterfinals, making it the first time two women born in 2001 make it this far at a WTA tournament; the Serb earned a big upset over former World No.15 Kaia Kanepi, 7-6(3), 7-5.