MADRID, Spain - Petra Martic won an all-Croatian clash on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open after compatriot Donna Vekic retired in the third set.
The elder Croat had turned around the match from a 6-3, 2-2 deficit to extend the match to a final set, and was leading by a double break in the decider at 3-6, 6-3, 3-0.
Martic won seven of eight games played from 2-2 before her compatriot retired from the match in tears, having taken an off-court medical timeout when trailing 2-5 in the second set.
"I don't want to finish this way, especially after I felt like I was finding my rhythm," Martic told WTA Insider after the match.
"Conditions were really tough. After the first set, I got myself together, found my rhythm and started to go for it a bit more.
"I wish I could've finished the match today, because it would've felt a bit more like a win, but after all, I'm in the quarterfinals and that's what counts."
After receiving a walkover from Angelique Kerber in the second round when the German withdrew due to a right ankle injury on Tuesday, Martic's unbeaten streak on the back of her first career title at the BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup extends to seven straight matches.
She will next face Sloane Stephens for a spot in the biggest semifinal of her career to date. The American pulled off a comeback of her own against Zheng Saisai, coming from a set down to seal her spot in the quarterfinals.
The pair played in a dramatic match at the Australian Open in January, with the American winning in a pair of tiebreaks when the Croat had leads in both sets.
"I'm really looking forward to the next match," Martic said. "That one [in Australia] hurt, and I think the whole world saw it. It was a great match and we both played a really good level.
"It was so tough, and a few points decided it. She likes clay, she played finals of Paris, but I like clay as well. I think it's going to be a nice clash again.
"I think it's going to be pretty similar. We both feel comfortable, I think, on all surfaces, so it's going to be a tough one."