Australian Open

Suarez downs 'giant-killer' Gavrilova

2016-01-24 15:55
Carla Suarez Navarro (AFP)

Melbourne - Spain's Carla Suarez battled through knee pain to come back from a set down and make the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday, ending the dream run of giant-killing local hope Daria Gavrilova.

The 10th seed bounced back from a disastrous start to come through the testing encounter 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena and will play Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the last eight.

The Polish fourth seed herself came back from the brink to reach her fifth Australian Open quarter-final, beating unseeded German Anna-Lena Friedsam 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 7-5.

"It was difficult on the court with the crowd and against a local player," said Suarez, 27, who made the quarters at Melbourne Park on her tournament debut in 2009 but had never again reached those heights, until now.

She has also made the last eight at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, but failed to push on further.

"I felt the pain but that's part of the game," she said, after needing a medical time out in the second set for treatment on her knee.

"You have to play with the pain until the end. I'm happy because I fought until the right point."

The defeat was a cruel blow for Australian fans who were hoping Gavrilova could become the first Australian woman to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park since 2009.

Despite the loss, Moscow-born Gavrilova, 21, had her best Grand Slam ever, stunning sixth seed Petra Kvitova in the second round then ending the hopes of 28th seed Kristina Mladenovic before meeting Suarez.

She came out of the gates firing and surged to a 6-0 first set, saving three break points in game five, in remarkable opening.

The embarrassing 'bagel' set woke up the Spaniard who started finding her range, controlling her groundstrokes better, with the set going to serve till 2-2.

Suarez got her break in the fifth game as Gavrilova began sending forehands long. But the Australian immediately captured a break back in the next game before a stirring hold to trail Suarez 4-3.

The Spaniard called for a trainer at the changeover and had a medical time out, with her lower right knee taped and her right thigh massaged.

It worked wonders with Suarez, showing more variety on her shot choice, motoring through the next two games to take the set.

But it was Suarez who buckled first in the deciding set as the pressure built, going a break down before the fired-up Australian saved five break points to hold serve.

More breaks in the fourth and six games came Suarez's way as her experience came into play, with a disappointed Gavrilova surrendering the match in two hours and three minutes.

Suarez came into the tournament off a first-round exit at the Sydney International but she has had an easy route to the last eight, avoiding any seeds so far.

Read more on:    wta tour  |  australian open  |  tennis

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