LUGANO, Switzerland - Two former Top 10 players entered, but only one could reach the quarterfinals at the Samsung Open presented by cornèr on Thursday.
After over two hours of play, it was two-time Grand Slam champion and Svetlana Kuznetsova who booked a place in the last eight at the expense of Timea Bacsinszky, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
The Russian, a wildcard this week in her first tournament since September, extended her head-to-head edge over the former World No.9 to 5-0, having also needed three sets to beat her in their last meeting - in Cincinnati nearly three years ago, when both were ranked in the Top 15.
Kuznetsova twice led by a break in the opening set, but ultimately succumbed to a Bacsinszky comeback in the opener, as the Swiss needed two chances to serve out the set.
From a 2-0 and 3-1 deficit, Bacsinszky got back on serve in the seventh game, and broke Kuznetsova in back-to-back efforts, but lost her own serve without holding set point in the 10th game.
The Swiss ultimately led by a set and a break, as she was the first to win a return game in the third game of the second set, but lost her serve immediately after and never broke the Russian again in the match.
From 2-1 down, Kuznetsova won the next four games en route to forcing a decider, and later secured the first - and only - break of the final set in a key third game.
More to come...